Tuareg Wars (1962 - )

The nomadic Tuareg in the north of Mali maintained a long-standing revolt against a government traditionally dominated by southern politicians shortly after Mali became independent from France in 1960. The uprisings focused in and around the Azawad region, north of Timbuktu. After several outbreaks of violence during the 1980s, violence peaked with the 1990 outbreak of the Tuareg Rebellion. Following an initial defeat by the Malian Armed Forces, reparations by the government of Alpha Konare included the creation of the self-governing Kidal region. Violence in 1994 died down following peace between moderates on both sides in 1995 and a negotiated peace agreement. Violence continued due to a lack of integration by combatants, but it was not until 2011 that the situation again escalated in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the disintegration of Libya, which resulted in a heavy inflow of small arms, and the increased involvement by Algeria. In January 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) together with several other groups took full control of the region. Disputes on how to handle the situation led to a military coup against President Touré in March 2012 that, in turn, resulted in further turmoil. The MNLA declared the independence of Azawad, but soon lost control of most of the territory to radical Islamist militias including Ansar Dine. A French intervention in January 2013 paved the way for a UN mission, which was established in April of that year. In June 2015 multiple declarations culminated in a final agreement between several Azawad-affiliated groups, including MNLA, and the government of Mali to end hostilities. However, inadequate implementation of the agreement results in continual armed confrontations between pro-government militias, Azawad-affiliated groups, dissidents of Azawad-affiliated groups, ethnically oriented groups, and increasingly since 2017, radical Islamist militias.

In 1990 the nomadic Tuareg in northern Niger explicitly sought greater political autonomy following decades of grievances on local political exclusion. With the first armed group Aïr and Azawad Liberation Front (FLAA) to be established in 1991, fighting between 1990 to 1995 took place largely in the Air Mountains. A short-lived truce was agreed in 1994 between the Niger Government and the Tuareg umbrella organisation Coordination of Armed Resistance (CRA), later called Organisation of Armed Resistance (ORA). Another accord was signed in April 1995 in Ouagadougou with various other Tuareg groups and some Toubou, the last signing in 1998. After ten years of relative peace, Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (MNJ) reinvigorated conflicts in 2007 following little follow up by the Nigeriene government on the signed peace agreements.

The University of Edinburgh