Islamist Occupation in Mali
Some of the Islamists who were expelled from Algeria in the 1990s infiltrated the Saharan Desert where they joined forces with al-Qaeda and enacted attacks on the countries within the region. Motivations are mixed, from making money to self-rule to global jihad. When Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s autocratic government was brought to an end in Libya in 2011, many Tuareg fighters returned to Mali and started a rebellion. The Tuareg rebels forged links with the Saharan rebels, Islamists and al-Qaeda, and quickly seized northern Mali in April of 2012.
Militants have been terrorizing Mali since and have occupied the majority of Mali in the Northern region putting it under rebel control. On January 10th, civilians began to flee to neighboring countries such as Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad for safety. On the 11th France intervened militarily, deploying 2,000 troops and bombing suspected rebel positions to help the Malian army recapture their territory. after threats from al-Qaeda linked Islamists to turn Mali into a ‘terrorist state’. On January 16th the attack on an Algerian natural gas plant was executed and 48 hostages were killed over the 4-day hold up by the al-Qaeda-affiliated group of rebels. These same militants have called upon France to end their intervention in Mali where thousands of French troops are fighting the Islamist rebels and hoping that the UK aids them in it. The UK has lent military aircraft, however there are still no plans for a ground combat role. As the fighting continues the situation makes these fragile states at risk of becoming a ‘haven for terrorism’ creating an international threat from terrorism.