Overview: The Government of Mali called for greater regional cooperation to counter al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and participated in training programs to increase the capacity of its security and military forces. Although Malian leaders were generally sincere in their desire to counter terrorism, their ability to do so continued to be hindered by limited resources and the lack of an adequate state presence in the distant and vast northern regions of the country. During the year, AQIM continued to operate in parts of northern Mali, and held, released, and claimed to have killed hostages kidnapped for ransom. In addition, AQIM engaged in skirmishes with the Mauritanian military on Malian territory.

2010 Terrorist Incidents: In contrast to 2009, there were no terrorist incidents directed against Malian interests and no kidnappings of foreigners on Malian soil in 2010. AQIM continued to hold hostages on Malian territory throughout the year, including hostages kidnapped in Niger in 2010. On July 25, AQIM claimed to have executed French citizen Michael Germaneau, whom it was holding hostage in Mali in retaliation for French support of a Mauritanian July 22 raid on AQIM camps in Mali. There were conflicting reports, however, that Germaneau may have already died, due to natural causes exacerbated by his captivity, prior to the Mauritanian raid.

Six hostages abducted by AQIM or bandits associated with AQIM and held in Mali were released:

  • On February 23, AQIM released French citizen Pierre Camatte who was taken hostage in Menaka, Mali in November 2009. The release occurred after Malian courts tried the four AQIM operatives taken into custody in April 2009 for misdemeanor arms possession and released them for time served.

  • Three Spanish aid workers kidnapped in Mauritania in November 2009 were released in 2010, one on March 10 and the other two on August 22.

  • On April 16, AQIM released two Italian citizens, Sergio Cicala and his wife Philomene Kaboure, who had been held hostage in Mali since their kidnapping in December 2009 in Mauritania.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Malian judiciary did not prosecute any terrorist cases except in connection with the release of Pierre Camatte.

Countering Terrorist Finance: In November, the Malian National Assembly adopted legislation to strengthen the authority of the National Financial Information Processing Unit, Mali's Financial Intelligence Unit. The National Assembly also reinforced the judicial controls available to Malian authorities to counter terrorist financing and money laundering offenses, as well as bring Malian code into conformity with regional standards and the International Convention on the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. The legislation had not been signed by the President of Mali at year's end, however. Mali is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body.

Regional and International Cooperation: Mali ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Mali continued to press for greater regional cooperation to counter terrorism. Mali cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts and is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country. Along with Mauritania, Niger, and Algeria, Mali participated in the establishment of a Joint Command Center in Tamanrasset, Algeria, that once fully operational will allow the four countries to coordinate regional responses to AQIM activities.


This 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.