the State announces an agreement to integrate 26,000 ex-combatants into the army

The Malian transitional government has agreed with armed groups, signatories of an agreement for peace in the north of the country, for the integration of 26,000 ex-rebels into the Malian army, according to a government press release sent on Friday at AFP.

Signed in 2015 by the Malian government and groups of ex-rebels from the predominantly Tuareg north of the country, this so-called Algiers peace agreement provides for a process of cantonment of combatants from the signatory movements with a view to their integration into the public service. , including within the armed forces, or their “disarmament, demobilization and reintegration(DDR) in civilian life. This integration must lead to a restructured national army, more representative of the populations of the North in particular. This army must then be gradually redeployed in the main cities of the North in the form of mixed battalions made up in equal ratio of the Malian armed forces, combatants from the former rebellion and pro-government armed groups.

The Malian state and the armed groups decided “the integration of 26,000 ex-combatantsin the army, says a government statement sent to AFP on Friday after a meeting held in Bamako all this week in the presence of Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga, representatives of armed groups and the Algeria, according to a government statement. This integration must take placeinto two tranches of 13,000 (ex-combatants), the first of which is divided according to the quota agreed upon by the two parties“, says this press release without further details, in particular on the date of the start of the operation. The second installment will be spreadover a two-year period, in particular 2023-2024“, according to the same source.

In addition, the parties agree to the “creation and operationalization of an ad hoc commission“responsible in particular for formulating proposals”for the case-by-case management of senior civilian and military executives of the signatory movements», for their integration in «chain of command“. This commission must be set upas soon as possible“says the text. A spokesperson for the Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA), the former Tuareg-dominated rebellion, said his movement has “accepted the government’s offerto set up this commission andtalk about the chain of command problemwithin the future reconstituted national army. “The question obviously concerns our officers. What will be their place in the next army. Until this problem is resolved, we cannot speak of significant progress.Almou Ag Mohamed told AFP on Friday.

The implementation of the Algiers agreement, with its provisions for the integration of ex-combatants, as well as the restoration of state authority are considered essential political components for a way out of the crisis in Mali. , in addition to purely military action. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on July 31 called on the military in power in Mali to apply the Algiers agreement and return to legality “as soon as possible», going towards elections. Mali’s ruling colonels gave in in early July to demands by West African states for a civilian return to power, publishing a new electoral law and timetable that includes a presidential election in February 2024.

Mali, a poor and landlocked country in the heart of the Sahel, was rocked by two military coups in August 2020 and May 2021. The political crisis goes hand in hand with a serious ongoing security crisis since 2012 and the outbreak of separatist and jihadist insurgencies in the North.

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