Macina Liberation Front
|Macina Liberation Front|
|Dates of operation||January 2015-March 2017|
|Part of||Ansar Dine|
|Battles and wars||Northern Mali conflict|
The Macina Liberation Front (MLF, French: Force de libération du Macina, also known as the Macina Liberation Movement or Katibat Macina) is a militant Islamist group that operates in Mali. It is an affiliate of Ansar Dine.
Origins and membership
In March 2012, the President of Mali Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup d'état over his handling of an insurgency in Northern Mali. As a consequence of the instability that followed, Mali's three largest northern cities—Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu—were overrun by a mixture of Islamists and Tuareg Nationalists. By July, the Tuareg were pushed out by their former allies, and the area became dominated by Jihadist groups: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine, and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).
In January 2013, the Islamists captured the town of Konna in Central Mali, after fierce fighting with Malian forces. They were driven out by French forces days later, the start of a French-led military intervention known as Operation Serval. However, some fighters were able to retreat to hideouts in the mountains or deserts and regroup. Ethnic Fulani veterans of the conflict make up the core of the group. The Fulani are around 9 percent of Mali's population, but are locally dominant in the Mopti Region, which was the center of the 19th Century Fulani-led Islamic state of Macina.
The Macina Liberation Front first came to prominence in January 2015, when it claimed responsibility for attacks in central and southern Mali. The group's leader is Amadou Kouffa, a marabout who had acted as commander for the Islamist militants in the 2013 Battle of Konna.
The group has been responsible for attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers, French troops and Malian government forces, as well as civilians.
In March 2017, Amadou Kouffa appeared in a video, alongside leaders from the Saharan branch of AQIM, Al-Mourabitoun and Ansar Dine, in which it was announced that they were merging their organisations into a group called Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin.
Links with other groups
On January 10, 2020, armed clashes took place between loyal members of Amadou Koufa and a some dissidents near the commune of Dogo within the Macina Liberation Front. Several points of disagreement have led a faction of dissidents affiliated with Mamadou Mobbo to criticize Amadou Kouffa for the mismanagement of natural resources. Two combatants of Katiba Macina were killed as a result of these confrontations.
Mamadou Mobbo is one of those who helped Amadou Koufa to legitimize his fight in Macina, a region where Koufa is not originally from.
In a video published at the end of January, the group of combatants led by Mamadou Mobbo defected by pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and its Caliphate Abu Ibrahim al-Hachimi al-Qourachi, thereby seeking recognition for the Islamic State.
- "The Sahel's Militant 'Melting Pot': Hamadou Kouffa's Macina Liberation Front (FLM)". The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- Kathleen Caulderwood (9 May 2015). "Macina Liberation Movement: New Terror Group In Mali Threatens Peace Agreement". International Business Times. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Al-Qaeda now has a united front in Africa's troubled Sahel region". 3 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "Le Front de libération du Macina menace la France et ses alliés dans une vidéo". Radio France Internationale. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Mali: Lawlessness, Abuses Imperil Population". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Mali's Islamist conflict spreads as new militant group emerges". Reuters. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Ansar Dine's branch in southern Mali releases first video". Long War Journal. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- Nossiter, Adam (18 July 2012). "Jihadists' Fierce Justice Drives Thousands to Flee Mali". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Over 100 dead in French strikes and fighting in Mali". Retrieved 16 November 2015.
- "France begins first stage of Mali military withdrawal". BBC. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Islamic extremist groups to merge in Mali, pledge allegiance to al-Quaida". Archived from the original on 2017-03-04.
- "Exclusive: Key Mali jihadist Amadou Koufa resurfaces to deny reports of his death". France 24. 2019-02-28. Retrieved 2019-03-01.
- "Jihadists in central Mali pledge allegiance to new Islamic State leader | FDD's Long War Journal". www.longwarjournal.org. 2020-01-31. Retrieved 2020-03-27.