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Commune and village
Tessalit is located in Mali
Location in Mali
Coordinates: 20°12′04″N 1°0′45″E / 20.20111°N 1.01250°E / 20.20111; 1.01250Coordinates: 20°12′04″N 1°0′45″E / 20.20111°N 1.01250°E / 20.20111; 1.01250
Country  Mali
Region Kidal Region
Cercle Tessalit Cercle
 • Total 30,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi)
Population (2009)[2]
 • Total 5,739
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)

Tessalit is a rural commune and village in the Kidal Region of Mali. The village is the administrative centre of Tessalit Cercle (district). The village lies 85 km north of Adjelhoc and about 70 km from the Algerian border. The commune extends over an area of 30,000 km2 that is almost entirely desert. In the 2009 census the commune had a population of 5,739.[2] It is served by Tessalit Airport.

Tessalit is an oasis in the Sahara desert and a stop for trans-Saharan travellers. A gypsum deposit and a plaster factory also contribute to the local economy, though all of these activities have been disrupted in recent decades by the Tuareg Rebellion and terrorism in neighboring Algeria.

The Malian government have a military base at Amachach, 7 km south of the village.

Tessalit is situated in the mountain range of Adrar des Ifoghas. It is primarily populated by Tuaregs and is the home of the musical group Tinariwen as well as the poet Souéloum Diagho. The village is twinned with Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France.

The cercle of Tessalit contains the communes of Tessalit, Adjelhoc and Timtaghene.

Battle of Tessalit[edit]

Tuareg rebels defeated Malian government forces. Attempts by the Malian Air Force, using Ukrainian mercenaries, were unable to prevent the defeat.

Recapture of Tessalit by French Forces[edit]

French paratroopers took the local airport and then were joined by French and African Forces landing at the airport. They recaptured Tessalit on Feb. 8, 2013, according to General Staff spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard.[3]


  1. ^ Programme d'Appui au Développement des Régions du Nord: Guide de Collecte des Données Cercle de Tessalit (in French), Ministère de l'Administration Territoriale et des Collectivités Locales. République du Mali., 2007 .
  2. ^ a b Resultats Provisoires RGPH 2009 (Région de Kidal) (PDF) (in French), République de Mali: Institut National de la Statistique .
  3. ^ French forces control strategic Mali town Tessalit, Expatica French News, Feb 8, 2013