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In Mali, Jihadists and Separatists Forge a Pact to Counter the Islamic State

In Mali, the al-Qaeda-linked group JNIM’s non-aggression pact with other armed groups highlights its political legitimacy and may lay the groundwork for negotiations with Bamako, even as security worsens around the capital.

The head of Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin — the jihadist group known as JNIM that holds territory and carries out attacks in the Western Sahel — met with representatives of several armed groups operating in northeastern Mali on Jan. 26, according to a report published by Radio France International (RFI) on Jan. 30. During the meetings, JNIM leader Iyad Ag Ghaly reportedly forged a non-aggression pact with groups including the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (an Islamic rigorist and ethnic Tuareg group with alleged ties to Ansar al-Din, a Tuareg separatist group); the Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (a coalition of armed groups that in December 2022 abandoned the 2015 Algiers Peace Agreement…

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