Mali. Again, the conflict between the state and Tuareg rebels flared up, despite previous peace agreements. The army offensive caused by grenade attacks against Tuareg government officials in the city of Gao in northern Mali at the turn of the year became a relatively short story. After the army captured several rebel bases and pushed the guerrilla leader Ibrahim Ag Bahanga into flight, hundreds of Tuaregans capitulated in a symbolically important ceremony in the city of Kidal in mid-February. The government now promised to make the investments for improved living conditions in the north that were envisaged in the peace treaties, but which the Tuaregs considered themselves to have been deceived.
According to countryaah, a few months after the Tuareg uprising had subsided, a new armed conflict erupted in the desert, after Algerian Islamists from “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” had killed a British tourist. An intelligence officer was shot dead by al-Qaeda in the city of Timbuktu, whereupon the army launched an offensive against the Islamists. About 20 al-Qaeda members were reported killed in an army raid near the Algerian border. President Amadou Toumani Touré declared a “total fight” against al-Qaeda, and both Algeria and the United States came to the rescue with material support. The United States, which has warned of al-Qaeda’s increased operations in the Sahara since the early 2000s, provided trucks and communication equipment. Even the war-torn Tuaregs who had just made peace with the state promised to help in the fight.
At the beginning of August, Parliament adopted a new family law with a significantly strengthened legal position for women. The law was met by so vigorous protests from conservative Muslims that the president asked Parliament to review parts of the law to “preserve the social order”.