Mali: Tuareg rebels call for 'fall of the junta'

The ruling military junta in Mali announced Sept. 25 the indefinite postponement of presidential elections that had been scheduled for February 2024. The announcement comes as one of the Tuareg rebel groups in the country's north, which have observed a ceasefire since 2015, called for renewed armed struggle to remove the junta from power. Fahad Ag Almahmoud, a leader of the Tuareg armed group GATIA, said in a statement: "We are in a war that the junta in Bamako wants. We will continue this war until all of Mali that has been taken hostage by the five colonels is liberated."

GATIA, for the Imghad Tuareg Self-Defense Group, is a member of the overall Tuareg rebel coalition, the Coordinating Body of Azawad Movements (CMA), which is seeking an autonomous homeland in the country's north. (RFI, AfricaNews)

The ceasefire in northern Mali is already breaking down. On Sept. 12, CMA-affiliated Tuareg rebels claimed to have seized control of a military camp and outposts in the town of Bourem, between the cities of Gao and Timbuktu, after weeks of fighting against the national army and Wagner Group mercenaries. (Al Jazeera)

In postponing the elections, the junta cited factors linked to the adoption of a new constitution earlier this year, and a revision of voter rolls. The new constitution, approved by a referendum in June, strengthens the powers of the executive and military. Despite widespread criticism of the draft charter, the "yes" vote won by nearly 97%. (AfricaNews)