Macina Liberation Front

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Macina Liberation Front
Participant in Northern Mali conflict
Active January 2015[1]-March 2017[2]
Ideology Salafist jihadism
Leaders Amadou Kouffa[3]
Area of operations  Mali
Part of Ansar Dine[4]
Became Jama'at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin
Battles and wars Northern Mali conflict

The Macina Liberation Front (MLF, French: Force de libération du Macina, also known as the Macina Liberation Movement[5] or Katibat Macina) is a militant Islamist group that operates in Mali.[6] It is an affiliate of Ansar Dine.[7]

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).[8]

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,[9] 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.[10] 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.[6]

History[edit]

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.[3]

The group has been responsible for attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers, French troops and Malian government forces, as well as civilians.[1]

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.[2][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ a b "Al-Qaeda now has a united front in Africa's troubled Sahel region". 3 March 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "The Sahel's Militant 'Melting Pot': Hamadou Kouffa's Macina Liberation Front (FLM)". The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ "Mali: Lawlessness, Abuses Imperil Population". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Mali's Islamist conflict spreads as new militant group emerges". Reuters. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Ansar Dine's branch in southern Mali releases first video". Long War Journal. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  8. ^ Nossiter, Adam (18 July 2012). "Jihadists' Fierce Justice Drives Thousands to Flee Mali". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Over 100 dead in French strikes and fighting in Mali". Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "France begins first stage of Mali military withdrawal". BBC. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Islamic extremist groups to merge in Mali, pledge allegiance to al-Quaida". Archived from the original on 2017-03-04.