Mali: air-strikes on Tuareg rebels reported

Mali's military reportedly carried out air-strikes Aug. 29 against Tuareg militants in the desert north—an escalation that risks opening up another conflict front in the country, which is already embroiled in a long counterinsurgency war with jihadist rebels. The accusation was made by the Coordinating Body of Azawad Movements (CMA), a coalition of Tuareg rebel groups that signed a peace deal with the Malian government in 2015. The government claims to have struck jihadist positions in the Kidal region, but the CMA rebels charge that they were targeted. Two weeks earlier, the CMA also accused Malian forces and Russian Wagner Group mercenaries of attacking its followers in the Timbuktu region.

Since the 2015 peace agreement, there has been an uneasy calm between the Tuaregs and the government, but relations between the signatories have deteriorated since a military junta took power in 2020, followed by a second coup in 2021. A UN peacekeeping mission has been a key guarantor of the pact, but is now leaving Mali at the demand of the junta. (TNH)

Scores of civilians massacred in Mali —again

Islamist militants have attacked a river boat in Mali, killing at least 49 civilians. The attack took place on the Niger River between the cities of Gao and Mopti. Militants also attacked an army camp in the Bourem Circle of Gao region, killing 15 soldiers. Some 50 militants are said to have been slain. The government has declared three days of national mourning.

The northern city of Timbuktu has been under blockade since the start of the month by the Qaeda-linked Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, or JNIM by its Arabic rendering).  (BBC News, France24)

The past year has seen mounting massacres across the Sahel nations.