Battle of Aguelhok

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle of Aguelhok
Part of the Tuareg rebellion (2012) and Northern Mali conflict
Date 17–25 January 2012
(1 week and 1 day)
Location Aguelhok, Northern Mali
Result Massacre of Malian army garrison[2]


Azawad MNLA
Drapeau Ansar Dine.JPG Ansar Dine
Commanders and leaders
Captain Sékou Traoré [3][4] Colonel Iga Ag Moussa
Iyad Ag Ghaly
153–200 soldiers unclear
Casualties and losses
128–160 soldiers killed[5][6]
(82–97 executed)[5][7]
dozens killed, 40 vehicles destroyed (Army claim)[8]

The Battle of Aguelhok (also called the Aguelhok Massacre)[5][9][10][11] occurred when rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Islamists groups Ansar Dine and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked a Malian army garrison base in the town of Aguelhok, Kidal Region of Northern Mali on 17 January 2012, as part of the larger Tuareg rebellion to seize all government bases in the region.[12][13]

The attack was led by Colonel Moussa Ag, a Malian army deserter to the MNLA.[14] The military base was overrun on 25 January, after the Malian army garrison ran out of ammunition and surrendered.[2][7][15]


Malian military spokesmen Colonel Idriss Traoré later commented that 97 captured soldiers were killed.[8][13] Later it became known that the 100 captured Malian soldiers were summarily executed by rebels using "al-Qaeda style" tactics.[7][8] Nine soldiers spared during the massacre were later let free on a vow to never fight "Sharia Islam".[15]

Prior to its formal investigation in Mali, the International Criminal Court stated that,

"Based on the information available, the Aguelhok incident appears grave enough to justify further action by the Court."

The Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure later commented during a conference on 15 March about the incident,[16]

"The garrison had no more ammunition and it was impossible to transport reinforcements. The soldiers who fought valiantly were captured. When the MNLA left the scene we discovered a tragedy. Seventy of our young people were lined up on the floor. Blacks had their wrists tied behind his back. They were killed by bullets fired at close range in the head. Those who had white skin, Arabs and Tuaregs slaughtered and gutted. It is a war crime. I am surprised by the silence of international organizations on these atrocities. What does the International Criminal Court do? Nothing. A commission of inquiry was tasked to submit a dossier to the Malian justice. MNLA who claimed victory bears a heavy responsibility, but we know that the largest contingent of the group was composed primarily of people of AQIM. "

France and other world countries denounced the incident as "absolutely atrocious and unacceptable violence".[2]


On 1 February, violence in the north of the country led to anti-rebellion protests which shut down Bamako, Mali's capital.[17] Following the Bamako protests, the interior minister took the place of the defense minister. President Touré also called on the population to not attack any community after some Tuaregs' properties were attacked in the protests.[17]


  1. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Mali rebels push south to open third front". Reuters. 27 January 2012. 
  3. ^ 52nd anniversary of the Army: TWO MILITARY AWARDS VALEUREUX[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ IC publications (18 February 2013). "Islamists fighters call for Sharia law in Mali". Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  5. ^ a b c Investigating 'massacre' of soldiers in Mali
  6. ^ Herve Bisseleua; Shefa Siegel; Allison Greenberg (12 April 2012). "Making sense of Mali". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 23 November 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Tuareg rebels behind January killings, confirms Mali army". Radio France International. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 23 November 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c "Mali Besieged by Fighters Fleeing Libya". Stratfor. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Chivvis, Christopher S. (2015-10-31). The French War on Al Qa'ida in Africa. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316445365. 
  11. ^ "Groupe URD - For a holistic approach to problems and opportunities in North Mali". Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  12. ^ Mali says soldiers, civilians executed during Tuareg clashes
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ "Mali : Voici la vérité sur le massacre d'Aguelhok, 4 ans après". Mali Actu (in French). Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  15. ^ a b "Mali capital paralysed by anti-rebellion protests". Reuters. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Situation in Mali - Article 53(1) Report" (PDF). International Criminal Court. 2013-01-16. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  17. ^ a b "Mali capital paralysed by anti-rebellion protests". Reuters. 2 February 2012. Archived from the original on 23 November 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 

Coordinates: 19°27′54″N 0°51′18″E / 19.4650°N 0.8550°E / 19.4650; 0.8550