The successful implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali signed in 2015 relies on the ability of national authorities to address the security problems in Niger and Burkina Faso as well as Mali. To reduce conflict and tensions in their respective border regions, in 2017 the three countries gave the HD a mandate to mediate dialogue between state authorities, armed groups in the border areas and the communities they originate from.
Since 2010, several armed groups have appeared along the porous border strip which separates Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Some of them claim close ties with either the armed groups which have signed the Mali Agreement or with Jihadist movements, while others claim to have links with some of the local communities. The fragility of the three countries and their respective armies, as well as the limited delivery of public services in these border regions, have constrained the ability of national authorities to control armed violence and respond to the concerns of local communities in this area. The social fabric has deteriorated considerably since the Malian crisis of 2012 and armed groups have been fueling inter- and intra-communal conflicts in order to defend the interests of their respective communities while, at the same time, ensuring their own survival.
In 2017, the national authorities of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso gave HD a mandate to assess ways to reduce conflict and tension in the border region between the three countries.
As a result, in August 2018, HD set up a tripartite mediation process involving non-Jihadist armed groups which have not signed the Mali Agreement, their communities of origin as well as the authorities of the three States. HD relied on selected community representatives to establish communication channels between the parties which allowed the organisation to identify the parties’ grievances and objectives with a view to negotiating consensual solutions.
At the request of the parties, HD began facilitating cessation of hostilities agreements between some of the armed groups and their respective states, as well as peace agreements between communities supported by the state authorities. These efforts resulted in a peace agreement between the Fulani and Dogon communities in August and a unilateral ceasefire signed by the Dan Nan Ambassagou group in September. HD has also consulted regularly with 125 women and young people from the region to seek their views on the security situation and their perceptions of the conflict parties, as well as their suggestions for addressing the issues.
Additionally, HD has been facilitating a parallel dialogue process among representatives from the authorities of the three countries to ensure their conflict management efforts are complementary.
Five regions along the borders of the three countries have benefitted from HD’s mediation efforts: the regions of Mopti, Gao and Ménaka in Mali; the Sahel region in Burkina Faso; and the region of Tillabéry in Niger.
HD would like to thank Canada for its support to this mediation project since 2017.