Mali's culture is a blend of Arab North
Africa and Black West Africa. There is a rich
craftsmanship, both in metal and wood. The Dogon
people's rocky villages in the Bandiagar mountains in
the southeast are famous. Also known are the Malian
houses and buildings, which are made of sun-dried clay.
In Timbuktu, thousands of manuscripts from the 13th
and 13th centuries have been preserved, many of which
have been written in African languages with Arabic
The old cities of Timbuktu and Djenné as well as the
Dogon people's area in Bandiagara have been classified
by the UN agency Unesco as a World Heritage Site. During
the 2012 uprising, several mausoleums with the remains
of Muslim saints were destroyed and thousands of unique
documents were destroyed.
Latest population statistics of Mali, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The musical tradition is based on the jali song
dating back to the 13th century. Typical instruments are
the string instrument chorus and various drums. When
West Africa's traditional music of the 1960s was mixed
with modern, Western-influenced music, a whole new
African pop emerged to conquer the world, not least
performed by Malian singers Salif Keita, Mory Kanté and
Oumou Sangaré and guitarist Ali Farka Touré.
Filmmakers Souleymane Cissé and Adama Drabo are among
the more notable African directors. In the city of
Essouk in the north, a festival has been held since 2001
on the culture of the Tuaregs.
UN: "massacres in Mopti"
In a UN investigation, traditional hunter-gatherer hunters are accused of
carrying out massacres in central Mali in June 2018. At least 24 Fulani
livestock shooters must have been killed when the dogon hunters attacked a
village in the Mopti region three days in a row and killed the victims. The
investigation was done by the UN Mission in Mali (Minusma). Nomadizing fulani
often end up in conflict with the resident dogas and bamboo area, as fulani
animals graze on other peoples' lands. Fulani is also accused of conspiring with
Islamists. UNHCR reported in July that at least 289 civilians have been killed
in similar clashes since the beginning of the year. The majority of cases occur
in the Mopti region, where state power has limited influence.
The government presents a program called "Disarmament, demobilization and
reintegration", which allows rebels to hand in their weapons to the authorities
before January 31 without risking punishment.
Two UN soldiers are killed in attacks
Two UN Burkina Faso soldiers are killed and several others injured when the
UN base in Ber in the Timbuktu region is attacked from multiple directions with
machine guns, rocket guns and other weapons. The same day, UN soldiers are also
injured in an attack in Konna near Mopti in the middle of the country, the UN
mission Minusma reports.
The choice is pushed forward
At the request of the National Assembly, the Constitutional Court extends the
mandate of incumbent MPs by six months and postpones the election from November
25, 2018 to May 2019. The cause is stated to be "force majeure" (approximately
unexpected or unpredictable events). No other details are published.
G5 Sahel headquarters moved
The regional security organization G5 Sahel's headquarters in the city of
Sevare in central Mali has been relocated to the capital Bamako. The decision
came after two soldiers and one civilian were killed in a suicide attack in
Sevare (see June 2018). Malian jihadist group Nusrat al-Islam
wal Muslimeen, with ties to al-Qaeda, took on the deed. In July, the EU offered
to pay for the construction of a new G5 Sahel headquarters. G5 Sahel was formed
in 2014 by Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. The organization
established a regional force in 2017 (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Parliamentary elections in November
The government announces that parliamentary elections will be held on
November 25, with a second round on December 16 in case no candidate gets his
own majority in the first round. Previously, the election had been announced
until October, but the registration of candidates was delayed at the time so the
government delayed the election for a month.
Prime Minister Maïga remains
President Keïta begins his second term in office. In accordance with the
constitution, Prime Minister Maïga resigns but resigns as head of government
Jihadist leader killed
A leading figure in the Islamic State of Greater Sahara (ISGS) is killed in a
French air strike in northeastern Mali, according to French military. In
addition to the ISGS leader and his bodyguard, two other people were also killed
at the scene.
The Constitutional Court finds no fraud
20th of August
The Constitutional Court, just as after the first round of elections, states
that the election results reported stand. The Court notes that incumbent
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has been re-elected and thus rejects opponent
Soumaïla Cissé's accusations of cheating. Cissé claims he got 52 percent of the
vote and has urged the people to "rise" and not accept "dictatorship fraud."
However, the Court finds no support for his charges. Observers from the EU and
AU have also stated that the election was conducted without major incidents.
President Keïta is re-elected
12th of August
President Keïta wins the second and decisive round of the presidential
election with just over 67 percent of the vote. Challenger Cissé gets almost 33
percent. Despite security being strengthened before Election Day, at least one
election worker is killed and around 500 polling stations may close, according
to authorities, because of threats from militant Islamists. Keïta's victory is
partly due to Cissé's failure to rally the opposition and several of the other
candidates from the first round chose to support the president.
Charges of summary executions
9th of August
In a report to the UN Security Council, security forces are accused of
summarily executing dozens of people in connection with Islamist militia
efforts, since several mass graves were found between February and July. The UN
report describes a "worrying pattern" in which civilians are exposed to human
rights violations in connection with terrorist attacks. Three occasions are
mentioned, including a strike in May against a livestock market in Mopti when
twelve civilians were killed. The army first reported that it was "terrorists"
who were killed in combat, but after protests from relatives, the government has
admitted that the soldiers have been guilty of murder. In total, more than 80
cases of suspected summary executions have been discovered.
Court decides election results
The Constitutional Court rejects formal complaints that have been received
against the first election and thus the result is fixed. Both Cissé and the
third and four elections, Diallo and Diarra, had appealed to the Constitutional
Court, claiming that voting rights existed, as well as violations of the
electoral law and other irregularities. Eighteen of the total 24 presidential
candidates consider cheating to have occurred and have jointly demanded that a
Nothing crucial in the first round of the presidential election
As expected, President Keïta and Soumaïla Cissé will be in first and second
place in the first round of the presidential election and move on to the second,
held on August 12. The election is being held even though the government later
states that close to 900 polling stations could never be opened, due to unrest,
and close to a quarter of a million people could therefore not vote. Violence is
reported to occur in close to one fifth of the polling stations. According to EU
observers, the choice of irregularities is characterized by, among other things,
voting cards must have been distributed in a regular manner. African Unionfinds,
however, the circumstances "acceptable" and AU calls on Mali's politicians to
approve the result. The final results presented after just over a week show that
Keïta received just under 42 percent of the votes and Cissé 18 percent, while
Diallo received just under 8 percent and Modibo Diarra just over 7 percent.
Bloody clash between people groups
At least 17 people are reported to have been killed in a new outbreak of
violence in central Mali. Nomadizing fulani often end up in conflict with the
resident dogas and bamboo area, as fulani animals graze on other peoples' lands.
Fulani is also accused of conspiring with Islamists. UNHCR reported earlier this
month that at least 289 civilians have been killed in similar clashes since the
start of the year. The majority of cases occur in the Mopti region, where state
power has limited influence.
Several killed after jihadist attacks
Islamic terrorists kill one government soldier and injure another in an
ambush in the Segou region. Subsequently, government troops are said to have
responded by killing eleven jihadists, according to government sources. Violence
has also occurred a few days earlier at the border with Niger. According to
government-loyal Tuareg groups, "armed men" then murdered about 20 people in a
24 candidates may stand in the presidential election
The Constitutional Court approves 24 candidates for the July 29 presidential
election, while six candidates are rejected. Three politicians who have
previously been announced may stand in line. This includes former Prime Minister
Cheick Mohamed Abdoulaye Souad (usually called Modibo Diarra) and two former
ministers. A religious leader, Harouna Sankara, is also accepted as a candidate.
The favorites include besides incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
opposition Soumaïla Cissé.
Several dead in attacks in Mali
Three people are killed on June 28 in a suicide attack against the regional
force G5 Sahel's headquarters in the city of Sevare in the middle of the
country. Two soldiers from the G5 Sahel force and one civilian are said to have
been killed. A Malian group affiliated with al-Qaeda, Nusrat al-Islam wal
Muslimeen, takes on the deed. The next day, four Malian soldiers perish as they
drive on a landmine in the Mopti region in the middle part of the country.
Another day later four civilians are killed and 20 people are injured, including
four French soldiers, in an ambush near the city of Gao in northern Mali
(information on the number of victims, however, varies between sources). Nusrat
al-Islam wal The Muslims say they are behind this deed too. The attacks in Mali
and one in Niger mean that security issues are high on the agenda at the AU
summit in neighboring Mauritania. Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdelaziz
calls for more international support for the region and accuses the UN of having
"closed the door".
Violent during protests against the government
Clashes are taking place in connection with protests against the government,
which is being carried out in several parts of the country, despite being
banned. According to the opposition, some 30 people may be taken to hospitals
since security forces opened fire on protesters in Bamako, but the government
denies that information. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who visited Mali
a few days earlier, calls for calm. Protest actions and demonstrations are
banned because of the state of emergency that has largely prevailed since the
attack on a hotel in Bamako in 2015.
President Keïta is up for re-election
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is running for election in July, according
to a Twitter message from his office. The message from the 73-year-old head of
state was expected. The election is to be held despite the situation being
strained with violence, even in the middle parts of the country.
Jihadist attacks against civilians in the north
Extremist Islamists are accused of several massacres of civilians in the
north, near the border with Mali. In the recent past, 17 people were killed,
many of them elderly, who were burned to death in their homes. On April 26 and
27, a total of 43 people, including many women and children, were killed in two
attacks. The perpetrators belong to the same terrorist group, the
government-backed group Gatia and the Azawad Rescue Movement (MSA) stated in a
joint statement. MSA consists of former members of MNLA, HCUA and MAA. The
attacks are reported to be revenge campaigns for attacks against jihadists who
have been behind Tuareg armed groups in recent weeks. According to Minusma,
there are reports that at least 95 people have been summarily executed by Tuareg
Presidential elections in July
The government confirms that presidential elections will be held on July 29,
with a possible second round on August 12. Despite the planned regional
elections, the decision will be postponed again, from April to the end of the
year. President Keïta has not announced whether he will run for re-election, but
a dozen others have said they are planning to run for office.
Attack on UN base
A UN soldier and around 15 attackers are killed in connection with an attack
on one of Minusma's bases in Timbuktu. The attackers, suspected Islamists, were
partially dressed as peacekeepers, creating disarray. On the base are soldiers
from a wide range of countries participating in the operation.
UN soldiers killed
A Nigerian UN soldier is shot dead in northern Mali, the day after two
Chadian UN soldiers were killed in a raid on a base in the northeastern part of
the country. Since the establishment of the UN force Minusma in Mali in 2013,
150 soldiers have been killed in attacks, making the operation one of the
deadliest in UN history.
Bloody clash at the border
Thirty Islamist rebels are killed in a battle with French and Malian soldiers
near the Niger border, the French military said. Several Malian soldiers must
also have been killed, but no French.
Suspected jihadist handed to ICC
A malaria is handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The
Hague, which charged the man with war crimes and crimes against humanity in
connection with the destruction of Timbuktu 2012-2013. The man, Al Hassan Ag
Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, is said to have been the police chief of the
Islamist group Ansar al-Din. He is suspected of torture, rape, sexual slavery
and forced marriage. This is the second time an extremist Islamist has been
prosecuted by the ICC (see September 27, 2016).
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Mali is one of 44 Member States of the African Union (AU) that signs an
agreement to set up an African Free Trade Area, AFCFTA.
Soldiers killed in jihadist attack
Fourteen soldiers are said to have been killed and 18 injured in an attack on
a military camp in Soumpi in the Timbuktu region. The attackers are said to be
militant Islamists. The military regains control of the camp and two of the
perpetrators are killed.
Many civilian victims in road explosion
At least 26 civilians, including several children, die when a vehicle drives
on a land mine in Boni in central Mali. President Keïta cancels a planned trip
to an AU summit in Ethiopia and moves to the site after the explosion.
Possible amnesty for rebels
A "national consensus" law is to be adopted and can be used to grant amnesty
to rebels who took part in the 2012 uprising, says President Keïta in a New
Year's speech. The law is to be based on the reconciliation treaty presented
(see June 2017). The amnesty will apply to rebels who have not
been guilty of violent crimes and give those who are included a chance to be
reintegrated into society, it says.