Mali in the interior of West Africa is a country
with rich cultural traditions since the Middle Ages.
Mali was a relatively stable democracy from 1992, when
multi-party systems were reintroduced after many years
of dictatorship, and until a new military coup in March
2012. Despite economic reforms, Mali has remained one of
the world's poorest and most aid-dependent countries.
After the 2012 coup, the country has been plagued by a
prolonged conflict with Tuareg separatists and Islamist
terrorists who have claimed thousands of lives and
forced hundreds of thousands to flee.
Brief profiles of Mali, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Mali is located in West Africa and is almost
three times the surface area of Sweden. The country
lacks coast and is surrounded by seven neighboring
countries. Mali consists mostly of desert and
semi-desert. The climate is hot and dry throughout the
Northern Mali is part of the Sahara. South of the
desert, barren pastures in the Sahel outskirts of Sahel
take over. The Niger and Senegal rivers mean that
southern Mali is relatively fertile and where the
majority of the population lives.
The fish-rich Niger is an important transport route
and forms a wide inland delta in central Mali. The river
regularly floods over and water and fertilize when
cultivations, including rice, in the delta. At the far
south is a smaller area with tropical rainforests.
Mali is situated on a high plateau at 300-500 meters
above sea level with some smaller mountain ranges along
the borders. To the northeast of Algeria is the Adrar
des Iforas mountain range, which reaches about 1,000
meters above sea level.
In the Sahara desert in the north it rains very
rarely, some years no rain falls at all. In the Sahel
area further south, the climate is less dry and the
average temperature is slightly lower. In the
southernmost part of Mali, the Niger and Senegal rivers
make the climate more humid. There, the rainy season
lasts from June to October.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
1 240 192 km2 (2018)
Swedish –1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea,
Capital with number of inhabitants
Bamako 2,529,300 (with suburbs, UN estimate 2019)
Other major cities
Sikasso, Kayes, Koutiala, Ségou, Mopti, Gao
Hombori Tondo (1,155 m asl)
Data not available
Average Precipitation / month
Bamako 220 mm (aug), 0 mm (jan)
Average / day
Bamako 27 °C (July), 24 °C (Jan)
New bloody hostage frame at hotel
About 170 people are taken hostage in a luxury hotel in Bamako and 22 die
before the nine-hour drama ends, when Malian elite soldiers supported by French
and American soldiers storm the hotel. Two of the dead are terrorists, most of
the other foreign hotel guests. al-Murabitoun also takes on this deed (see
March and August 2015) and says it was
performed in collaboration with Aqim.
Ansar al-Din condemns peace treaty
Islamist leader Iyad Ag Ghaly condemns the peace agreement signed by a number
of rebel movements with the state and calls for new attacks on French targets.
The UN warns of a famine disaster
The Humanitarian Aid Coordination Agency, Unocha, is warning that many relief
efforts are not reaching northern Mali due to the violence. According to Unocha,
tens of thousands of children are at risk of dying from malnutrition. Over three
million people in Mali depend on food aid and for over 400,000 the situation is
Other violence in August
During the month, eleven soldiers from the National Guard are killed in an
attack on their location near Timbuktu, and just over ten people die when a
government-run militia occupies a Tuaregically dominated city of Anefis. After a
few weeks, the militia agrees to leave Anefis following a direct order from the
Hostage frame in hotel
Thirteen people, including five UN employees, die in connection with the
attack that goes on for a day against a hotel in Sévaré. This is the first time
the violence has reached the city of central Mali. al-Murabitoun takes on the
deed. The government loyal militia alliance The platform occupies the
Tuaregically dominated city of Anefis after battles that require at least ten
lives. The takeover of the city by the government side causes the Tuaregans to
step down from the internationally appointed committee to oversee the peace
agreement. The agents urge the Platform to leave the city, but the militia
refuses, which is considered to threaten the entire peace treaty.
Truth Commission should investigate violence
Ousmane Oumarou Sidibé, a member of the opposition party URD and former
minister, is appointed head of the newly established Truth, Justice and
Reconciliation Commission, which will investigate abuses in the country between
1960 and 2013.
New attack on UN soldiers
At least six Burkina Faso soldiers are killed in an ambush between the cities
of Timbuktu and Goundam. The Islamist group Ansar al-Din takes on the
responsibility, as well as for several other recent attacks against army unions
and UN soldiers.
Peace agreement with the entire CMA
In accordance with previous promises, the rebel organization signs the peace
agreement. Among other things, the agreement stipulates that regional popular
assemblies should be elected in general elections. The rebel soldiers must be
included in a security force for the northern regions and the residents of the
north should be given increased representation in government agencies. However,
there are no promises of autonomy for the northern provinces or a federal state
"Big shortcomings in Minusma"
The UN forces' Danish commander Michael Lollesgaard says the squad cannot
work effectively. According to Lollesgaard, the soldiers have neither the
training, access to necessary logistics nor the support of intelligence tasks
that would be required.
Violence in June
Suspected jihadists temporarily occupy an army base near the Ivory Coast
border, which draws particular attention as Islamists rarely act in southern
Mali. A police officer is killed in connection with the attack. In western Mali,
a total of at least twelve people are killed when a rebel group attacks the city
Peace agreement with parts of Tuaregallians
15th of May
The peace agreement is signed by the government, three government loyal
militias and two smaller groups within the Tuareg umbrella organization
Azawad's Unified Movement (CMA). Most of the CMA,
however, is absent from the ceremony in Bamako.
Audit reveals corruption during Touré
According to the Auditor General's review of the state's finances for the
financial years 2010 and 2011, the equivalent of approximately SEK 2.2 billion
was wasted through corruption and economic mismanagement during this period, the
last two years of former President Touré's rule (see March 2013).
Violence during May
CMA kills several soldiers during the month. French special forces kill four
jihadists, two leaders: one in Aqim and one in Ansar al-Din. The UN reports that
the fighting in four weeks forced nearly 60,000 people from their homes. As a
result, over 100,000 residents are on the run in the region. Some have crossed
the borders to neighboring countries, from where refugees have otherwise begun
to return home. French military and UN soldiers are increasingly involved in the
conflict. In total, nearly 50 UN soldiers have been killed in two years.
A man held hostage by Aqim since 2011 has been fired by French soldiers in
northern Mali. Two terrorists are killed and two arrested. Swede Johan
Gustafsson, who was abducted at the same time, is still being held (see
Violence during April
Several dozen people are killed in attacks and fighting during the month. At
a suicide bombing in Gao, at least three civilians die when an assailant tries
to drive into a UN camp and two drivers are shot dead when a car column with
supplies to Minusma is attacked. Battles are raging among others near Menaka in
the north and Léré near the border with Mauritania.
Relief workers are attacked
A Red Cross employee is killed and one injured when an auxiliary transport is
shot in northern Mali. Jihadi movement Mujao says it was behind the attack.
Terrorist action against nightclub in Bamako
Five people, including two Europeans, are killed in the armed attack on a
nightclub in Bamako. The attack is interpreted as a terrorist attack against
foreigners and the Islamist group al-Murabitoun says it is
behind the attack.
Peace treaty breaks
The government and some of the rebel groups sign a preliminary peace
agreement granting the country's northern "Azawad" far-reaching autonomy. But in
the middle of the month, the rebels say no to the agreement on the grounds that
the causes of the conflict will not go to the bottom. At the same time, they say
they want to continue negotiating, which the government, however, rejects. Thus,
the future of the peace process seems uncertain.
New round of peace talks
The government, rebels and the loyalist militia start new talks in Algiers.
Islamists linked to al-Qaeda do not participate in the negotiations.
Mali is declared Ebola-free
The announcement from the government and the UN that the Ebola danger is over
comes as it has been 42 days (double the incubation period) without any new case
Swedish Minusma force in place
Most of the Swedish part of the UN force arrives in Timbuktu, where it is
mainly to work with intelligence activities. In total, the Swedish force will
amount to 120 soldiers and officers.
Prime Minister Moussa Mara and his entire government resign. President Keïta
appoints Modibo Keïta as new Prime Minister. Modibo Keïta, who is not related to
the president, was former prime minister for a few months in 2002.
Violence in January
At the beginning of the month, the mayor of a small town in the Gao region is
killed in an ambush that also calls for the death of his son. Near the
Mauritanian border, at least seven soldiers are killed when Islamists attack the
city of Nampala. About ten people, including the perpetrators, are killed when
three suicide bombers from a government-friendly militia attack a guerrilla camp
outside Kidal. Three people are killed during a protest against the UN in the
city of Gao. According to eyewitnesses, they are shot by UN soldiers trying to
disperse the crowd.