BAMAKO, 18 December 2020 – The year 2020 has been the deadliest year on record in Mali as an escalation of violence, scaled-up military operations and the increased targeting of civilians hit record levels.
No fewer than 589 civilians had been killed in Central Mali alone by mid-June 2020, according the United Nations.
The overall death toll as of 30 November 2020 stood at over 4,000 civilians, rebels, jihadists and security officers killed.
The year 2020 also offers one of the best signs of hope that Mali could reverse its downward spiral into violence when on 18 August 2020 soliders based in the garrison town of Kati joined civilian protesters to oust the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The main force behind the August 2020 protests is known as the Movement of 5 June-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP).
Leaders of M5=RFP was drawn from the religious, opposition figures, academics and civil society.
The coup was the fourth since Mali gained independence from France.
The country has also had to deal with several Tuareg-led rebellions.
The latest of those rebellions in 2013 culminated in the creation of a breakaway Tuareg republic briefly known n as Azawad Republic in the northern parts of the country.
Prior to that, Mali’s steady descent into chaos had been on the roll.
The town of Katiba Macina has been at the epicenter of the violence that first broke out in the country in 2016.
The following year, the al-Qaeda affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslima (JNIM) was created in Katiba Macina.
Soon after JNIM was founded, the rival Dogon-majority militia Dana Ambassagou, and jihadi competitor, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) emerged.