(Ecofin Agency) - Mali's military, FAMa, has confirmed the loss of the crucial Kidal camp in the north and is getting ready to regain control. The situation escalated following the UN force, Minusma, completing its withdrawal from the region in October, causing concerns. FAMa expressed disappointment as Minusma left Kidal without officially transferring control, echoing a similar situation at Aguelhok camp earlier.
Colonel Souleymane Dembélé from the Armed Forces Information and Public Relations Directorate (DIRPA) criticized Minusma's withdrawal at a November 2 press conference. He highlighted that out of 8 camps withdrawn by Minusma, 6 were properly handed over to FAMa, but 2, Aguelhok and Kidal, were left unattended against the agreed handover. This occurred amid growing tensions between FAMa and Tuareg-led rebel groups united in the CSP-PSD, challenging the Malian government's authority in the region. The rebels even claimed control over a camp vacated by the UN mission in Kidal.
In response, the Malian authorities say they are getting ready for a counteroffensive to reclaim the rebel-held camps. General Keba Sangaré has been appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff of FAMa, signifying the significance of retaking Kidal. The region holds historical importance, being the center of the Tuareg rebellion during the 2012-2014 independence war. While a ceasefire and peace agreement were signed in 2014 and 2015, these agreements were disrupted in August 2023, coinciding with Minusma's withdrawal and the resumption of hostilities by the CSP-PSD.