Katiba Macina

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(Redirected from Macina Liberation Front)

Katiba Macina
LeadersAmadou Kouffa[1]
Dates of operationJanuary 2015[2] – March 2017;[3] July 2022 – present[4]
Active regions Mali
IdeologySalafist jihadism
Part of Ansar Dine[5]
Battles and warsNorthern Mali conflict
Designated as a terrorist group by Canada[6]

The Katibat Macina, also known as the Macina Liberation Movement[7] or Macina Liberation Front (MLF, French: Force de libération du Macina), is a militant Islamist group that operates in Mali.[8] It is an affiliate of Ansar Dine.[9]

Origins and membership[edit]

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).[10]

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,[11] 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.[12] 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.[8]


Katiba Macina 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.[1]

The group has been responsible for attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers, French troops and Malian government forces, as well as civilians.[2]

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.[3][13]

Kouffa was reportedly killed by the French Army in November 2018.[14] In February 2019, however, France 24 reported it had obtained a 19-minute long video that appeared to show him alive.[15]

Links with other groups[edit]

On 10 January 2020, armed clashes took place between loyal members of Amadou Koufa and a some dissidents near the commune of Dogo within Katiba Macina. 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.[16]


  1. ^ a b "The Sahel's Militant 'Melting Pot': Hamadou Kouffa's Macina Liberation Front (FLM)". The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Kathleen Caulderwood (9 May 2015). "Macina Liberation Movement: New Terror Group In Mali Threatens Peace Agreement". International Business Times. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Al-Qaeda now has a united front in Africa's troubled Sahel region". Newsweek. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  4. ^ Kontao, Fadimata (22 July 2022). "Militants attack Mali's main military base, situation 'under control'". Reuters. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Currently listed entities". 21 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Mali: Lawlessness, Abuses Imperil Population". Human Rights Watch. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Mali's Islamist conflict spreads as new militant group emerges". Reuters. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Ansar Dine's branch in southern Mali releases first video". Long War Journal. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  10. ^ Nossiter, Adam (18 July 2012). "Jihadists' Fierce Justice Drives Thousands to Flee Mali". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Over 100 dead in French strikes and fighting in Mali". Reuters. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
  12. ^ "France begins first stage of Mali military withdrawal". BBC. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Islamic extremist groups to merge in Mali, pledge allegiance to al-Quaida". Archived from the original on 4 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Top Mali jihadist Amadou Koufa killed in French raid - army". BBC News. 24 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Exclusive: Key Mali jihadist Amadou Koufa resurfaces to deny reports of his death". France 24. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Jihadists in central Mali pledge allegiance to new Islamic State leader | FDD's Long War Journal". www.longwarjournal.org. 31 January 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2020.