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Published on 18 February 2013

Northern Mali: The Sahel time-bomb explodes

Northern Mali: The Sahel time-bomb

An attack by a group of Islamist extremists in Northern Mali cast a cruel light on the risk of destabilization facing the area and, beyond it, the entire Sahel region. Launched by France on Jan. 11, a military operation dubbed Serval quickly restored the status quo ante. And in rapidly wresting control of the regions exercised by three Islamist groups since April 2012 (Mujao, Ansar Dine and AQIM) the operation even kindled hope of restoring political stability in Bamako.

But the hard part is only beginning. Along with hoping to ensure long-term military security in Mali, the Malian authorities are groping uncertainly in a delicate transition period leading to the emergence of a new president. But if it wishes to achieve lasting stability Bamako must pacify the country by reconciling multiple communities among Mali's inhabitants - starting with the Tuaregs- that were torn apart for months by developments that the newsrooms of Indigo Publications (The Indian Ocean Newsletter, La Lettre du Continent, Africa Mining Intelligence, Africa Energy Intelligence, Maghreb Confidential and Intelligence Online) have put together in the present brief.

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