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Mali: Barkhane presses on armed groups signatory to the peace agreement


An official of the French force Barkhane on Tuesday put pressure on the signatories of the peace agreement in Mali , denouncing the “collusion” between some of the armed groups and jihadist movements active in the north of the country.

“The various operations that we conducted recently (…) demonstrate the collusion between some signatory groups (of the agreement) and armed terrorist groups,“Christian Allavene, the commander of Barkhane forces in Mali , told reporters in Bamako.

“Today we have material evidence that demonstrates this collusion, a certain porosity,” he added, without giving details.

Signed in 2015, this agreement is supposed to isolate definitively the jihadist groups, which had seized northern Mali in March-April 2012 before being largely driven by an international military intervention launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France and continues today.

But its application has been plagued by delays , in the north but also in the center of the country which are beyond the control of the forces of Mali, France and the UN (Minusma) that are regularly targeted by attacks.

New measures have recently come into force to allow Minusma and Barkhane “to carry out on the ground a much more strict and precise control of the signatory armed groups”, according to the French force.

Thus convoys of more than five vehicles can no longer circulate without prior approval of the leaders of the signatory groups in agreement with the Minusma. The transport of non-individual weapons is now prohibited.

As part of the “fight against terrorism”, the Barkhane forces “seized equipment (weapons, ammunition, explosives mine, vehicles) and proceeded to arrest a dozen suspects” in the Goundam region ( north) on November 1, according to a statement issued by the Malian Armed Forces on Saturday, without specifying to which groups they belonged.

The Minusma also announced Tuesday that a Chadian blue helmet, was injured in an explosive device attack in the northern region of Kidal on October 26, and died on Sunday in Dakar, where he was evacuated for treatment.

Three other Chadian peacekeepers were killed in the attack when their vehicle struck a “mine or improvised explosive device,” according to Minusma.

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