This is the military victory that a large part of Mali has been waiting for for a decade and from which the officers in power in Bamako should not fail to take advantage. However, it was through a terse and non-triumphant press release that the Malian army announced its reconquest of Kidal, considered until now to be the impregnable bastion of the rebellion.
More than eleven years after being driven out by the independence rebels of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad and the Islamists of Ansar Eddine, the general staff of the armed forces of Mali announced, Tuesday, November 14 late in the morning , on X (ex-Twitter) that its soldiers have “took a position in the city of Kidal”and called “the population in peace and serenity”. A few minutes later, Colonel Assimi Goïta, the head of the junta, confirmed the information on the same network. “Our mission is not complete”he added, this consisting “to recover and secure the integrity of the territory, without any exclusion”.
The previous evening, sensing victory approaching, the Malian army had indicated that “the last pockets of resistance of armed terrorist groups are falling one after the other. The FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) continue to flush out terrorists on the outskirts of the city of Kidal “. The Malian soldiers, supported by Russian paramilitaries, landed from December 2021 under the label of the private security group Wagner, were then only around fifteen kilometers from the city.
Decisive new alliances
According to a local expert, their entry into Kidal, stronghold of four Tuareg rebellions since independence in 1960, and symbol of insubordination to central power in Bamako, was made possible in particular by the repeated bombings of Bayraktar TB2 drones, Turkish manufacturing, which began to operate on the night of November 3 to 4, and through the use of night vision means.
The new equipment purchased by Mali and the new alliances forged by the junta seem to have been decisive, whereas, in 2014, a previous attempt at reconquest had turned into a fiasco. The departure of the blue helmets of the United Nations mission (Minusma) from their base on October 31, ordered to leave the entire territory by the transitional authorities before the end of the year, had previously prepared the ground for a clash between government forces and rebels of the Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (CSP-PSD).
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