Mali ex-rebels question junta’s commitment to 2015 peace deal

Former rebels who signed a 2015 peace deal in Mali questioned Sunday whether the poor Sahel country’s ruling junta will stick to its terms.

A civilian prime minister named by the junta, Choguel Kokkala Maiga, “was fiercely opposed to the Algiers peace accord before his nomination”, noted Mohamed Maouloud Ould Ramadane, a spokesman for the former Tuareg rebels.

The Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), an alliance made up mainly of separatist Tuaregs and nationalist Arabs, signed the 2015 accord with the Bamako government it had fought for three years in the north of the country.

Another coalition made up of pro-government armed groups, called Platform, also signed the so-called Algiers accord.

Mali’s partners see the implementation of the accord as crucial to breaking the former French colony’s cycle of violence.

Thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced since 2012 despite the intervention of UN, African and French forces.

Absent from the 2015 accord are jihadist groups that initially fought alongside the Tuareg and Arab rebels before turning against them.

Jihadist violence has since spread to central Mali as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Aside from a cessation of hostilities, the 2015 agreement calls for regionalisation, development and reconciliation.

Six years on, “the results are unsatisfactory”, Ould Ramadane told a news conference in the capital Bamako.

He said the deal’s political and institutional portions, as well as so-called DDR (for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of rebels), were yet to be fully implemented.

Ould Ramadane accused the last civilian government — overthrown in a coup last year — of stalling over the accord.

Maiga, the new junta’s prime minister, told his first cabinet meeting on June 13 that he wanted an “intelligent re-reading” of the peace accord, while saying the “basic principles” would be followed.

Ould Ramadane told the news conference: “We don’t know what that means.”

Two members of Maiga’s 28-strong cabinet are from the CMA, with the rest mainly military.

Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, who met with a delegation of the CMA in early June along with Maiga, has vowed to honour a deadline of February 27, 2022, for holding democratic elections.