Last Updated: Friday, 22 August 2014, 15:07 GMT

Mali: Information on the current relationship between Tuaregs (Touaregs) and the government

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 October 1997
Citation / Document Symbol MLI27912.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Mali: Information on the current relationship between Tuaregs (Touaregs) and the government, 1 October 1997, MLI27912.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aafdc.html [accessed 23 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

According to a 6 January 1995 dispatch from Agence France Presse, a peace agreement signed in April 1992 between the Malian government and the rebel Tuareg Unified Movements and Fronts of Azawad ("les Mouvements et fronts unifiés de l'Azawad" ( MFUA) failed, and at least 500 people were killed in the intervening period as a result of renewed fighting. According to the dispatch, the Malian government and the sedentary population held the Arab Islamic Front of Azawad ("le Front islamique arabe d'Azawad" ( FIAA) responsible for the renewed Tuareg uprising (ibid.).

In a 28 December 1995 Malian radio report on a convention of the ruling party, ADEMA-PPLSJ, it was stated that a representative of the Unified Movements and Fronts of Azawad (MFUA) was present to address the gathering on the restoration of peace in northern Mali and the end of the insurrection (RTM Radio).

A 13 January 1995 RFI broadcast stated that a "black self-defence movement Gandakoye" (Ganda Koy, Ghanda Koye ( "Masters of the Land" ( see below) had signed an agreement with the Tuareg organization the Azaouad People's Liberation Front (FPLA) to cease hostilities in northern Mali. On 12 June 1995 RFI reported that "the Azaouad [Arab] Islamic Front" (FIAA ( see above), described as "the last Arab-Tuareg group involved in the armed rebellion in northern Mali" had decided to end hostilities with the Malian government.

For detailed information on the integration of Tuareg irregulars into the Malian army and on relations between the Tuareg and the sedentary population in the district of Gao, please see the attached 31 January 1996 article from Le Monde. The article focuses on the role of Ganda Koy (see above), a paramilitary organization which recruited its members from the sedentary population of the area, in the conflict and in the peace negotiations with the Tuareg organizations between 1994 and 1996 (ibid.). For more information on Ganda Koy, the various Tuareg rebel groups, and the history of and issues behind the Tuareg rebellion, please see the attached article from Africa Confidential.

A 1 June 1995 RFI broadcast quoted a representative of the Tuareg organization, the Association of Refugees and Victims of the Repression in Azaouad, as stating that Tuareg refugees would be reluctant to return to Mali from Mauritania and Algeria as long as their security was not assured in Mali. The representative mentioned three recent incidents in which more than twenty Tuaregs, including returning refugees, had been killed (ibid.). The representative added that some Tuareg refugees felt that the MFUA had forgotten about them since the signing of the peace agreement with the government (ibid.). Please see the attached text of the broadcast for more details.

On 20 March 1996 the Tuareg rebel organizations and the Ganda Koy organization reportedly issued a joint statement endorsing the constitution and territorial integrity of Mali and renouncing armed struggle (RTM Radio 20 Mar. 1996, FT Asia Intelligence Wire 15 Jan. 1997). Army sources were quoted as stating on 10 January 1996 that 2,705 former Tuareg rebel irregulars had been integrated into the Malian army, and on 9 February 1996 that the demobilization of the Tuareg rebels had been completed (ibid.). The report added that the Malian government planned development programmes for the north of the country and intended to implement "an amnesty to cover all offences committed during the armed conflict" (ibid.). Please see the attached text of the FT Asia Intelligence Wire dispatch for more details.

About 20,000 Tuareg refugees reportedly returned to Mali from Mauritania in November 1995, and a three-year schedule was reportedly established in 1996 for the resettlement of 120,000 Tuareg refugees who fled to Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger (FT Asia Intelligence Wire 15 Jan. 1997).

According to the Algerian news agency APS, 415 Tuareg refugees had returned to Mali from Algeria on 11 and 12 January 1996 (Reuters 14 Jan. 1996). A 27 February 1996 Algerian radio report stated that 732 Tuareg refugees were returning to Mali in a process that was to continue until 6 March. According to AFP,  100,000 Tuareg refugees had returned to Mali by 29 May 1997, and about 55,000 remained in camps in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Algeria (29 May 1997). A 6 February 1997 IPS dispatch quotes Albert-Alain Peters, the UNHCR official in charge of West Africa, as stating that "between November 1995 and November 1996, some 77,000 Malian refugees returned to their homes." The dispatch states that under a repatriation programme created in September 1996 by the UNHCR with the participation of the Malian government and Tuareg representatives, returning refugees receive repatriation grants before returning to Mali and settlement grants three months after their return. The grants consist of "three months' supply of food and other essentials" (ibid.). Please see the attached text of the IPS dispatch for more details. According to the U.S. Committee for Refugees' World Refugee Survey 1997, 60,000 refugees voluntarily returned to Mali over the course of 1996. However, there were some problems involved in the return, including land disputes among returnees and between returnees and the government. For details please see World Refugee Survey 1997, accessible through the UNHCR database REFWORLD.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Agence France Presse (AFP). 29 May 1997. "UNHCR Official Found by Mali Nomads After Abduction." (NEXIS)

_____. 6 January 1995. "Sept morts dans un 'accrochage' entre l'armée et les Touaregs." (NEXIS)

Algerian Radio [Algiers, in Arabic]. 27 February 1996. "Other Reports; More than 700 Malian Tuareg Refugees Return Home." (BBC Summary 27 Feb. 1996/NEXIS)

FT Asia Intelligence Wire. 15 January 1997. Guy Arnold. "World of Information: Mali ( Review 1997." (NEXIS)

Inter Press Service (IPS). 6 February 1997. Moyiga Nduru. "Mali-Population: Tuareg Repatriation Dubbed Success Story." (NEXIS)

Le Monde [Paris]. 31 January 1996. Sotinel Thomas. "Ganda Koy, ou la revanche des paysans." (NEXIS)

Radio France International (RFI) [Paris, in French]. 12 June 1995. "FIAA Declares End to Rebellion; Leader Confirms." (FBIS-AFR-95-112 12 June 1995/WNC)

_____. 1 June 1995. "Mali; Mali Victims' Association Representative Explains Why Tuareg Will Not Go Home." (BBC Summary 3 June 1995/NEXIS)

_____. 13 January 1995. "Seek End to Violence." (FBIS-AFR-95-015 13 Jan. 1995/WNC)

RTM Radio [Bamako, in French]. 20 March 1996 "Mali; Tuareg Rebels, anti-Tuareg Militias Announce Their 'Irreversible Dissolution.'" (BBC Summary 29 Mar. 1996/NEXIS)

Radiodiffusion-Television du Mali (RTM) Radio [Bamako, in French]. "Tuareg Official Confirms Peace in North." (FBIS-AFR-95-003 28 Dec. 1995/WNC)

Reuters North American Wire. 14 January 1996. BC Cycle. "Reuters Africa Highlights Mogadishu." (NEXIS)

Attachments

Africa Confidential [London]. 12 May 1995. Vol. 36, No. 10. "Mali: Talking Peace Again," pp. 4-5.

FT Asia Intelligence Wire. 15 January 1997. Guy Arnold. "World of Information: Mali ( Review 1997." (NEXIS)

Inter Press Service (IPS). 6 February 1997. Moyiga Nduru. "Mali-Population: Tuareg Repatriation Dubbed Success Story." (NEXIS)

Le Monde [Paris]. 31 January 1996. Sotinel Thomas. "Ganda Koy, ou la revanche des paysans." (NEXIS)

Radio France International (RFI) [Paris, in French]. 1 June 1995. "Mali; Mali Victims' Association Representative Explains Why Tuareg Will Not Go Home." (BBC Summary 3 June 1995/NEXIS)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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