“To fully understand what is happening in Mali and Libya, we must look to the history of discrimination and neglect of the Tuareg people of the north generally by the institutions of Bamako, and we must also bear in mind the latent hatreds within the army, which then led to the coup against President Amadou Toumani Toure,” according to Adriana Piga, professor of social and political systems of contemporary Africa, the Department of Social Sciences University ‘La Sapienza’ of Rome.
Piga was speaking to MISNA on the recent events in Mali.
According to Piga, “The view must necessarily be extended to the entire region and our reasoning must start from this preliminary observation: the conflict in Libya last year and its outcome have had and continues to have consequences in all countries of the Sahel. Mali is the most obvious case, but Niger is watching with concern what is happening in the neighboring country. From Libya, the Tuareg have not only returned well armed and trained, they have also had access to considerable financial resources. Migrants have also returned and their remittances supported very weak local economies, a case involving several countries including as far away Burkina Faso. ”
The discussion of the Tuaregs has distant temporal roots, reaching at least the colonial and post-colonial periods
“During the French colonial occupation the Tuaregs were kept out by the roles and responsibilities, suffering also various forms of discrimination. This marginalization has continued even after their independence, so that all the north of Mali to the present day has in fact been completely left alone by the central government, private infrastructure, investments and projects. A void that had consequences and that is necessarily easily been filled by the same armed groups such as Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQMI),“ said Piga.
With the occupation of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu, the Tuareg of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and other groups that are participating in the rebellion went very close to that myth of Azawad of a State that has always been present in the culture of the Tuaregs.
According to Piga, “This myth, which has its foundations in the large differences between the Tuareg and the neighboring populations, separated at the end of the colonial era in different States. Thus, the Tuareg are found in three, four states, and a similar fate befell the Peul and Songhai. If the Azawad become a State party to be seen: of course come into play several international dynamics that may also help to end a more federalist than a real secession “.
The coup led by the obscure Captain Amadou Sanogo Yaha was as if “a strange coup against a president who was nevertheless able to build democratic institutions. But it is also true that in the army discontent had been simmering for some time for the limited equipment that was gifted to different views regarding the management of conflict in the north and the ‘war’ to Aqmi that goes on for longer. It ‘clear that Toure has underestimated this state of things and this latent dissatisfaction, episodic deliberately organizing a response to the attacks coming from the north and eventually paying the price for this policy. ”
About the author: MISNA
MISNA, or the Missionary International Service News Agency, provides daily news ‘from, about and for’ the 'world’s Souths', not just in the geographical sense, since December 1997.