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Keywords:

  • insecurity;
  • criminal networks;
  • traditional conflict-management mechanisms

The three principle and intertwining security threats in the North of Mali are trafficking (drugs, arms, cigarettes, cars, etc.), rebellious uprisings and terrorist activity. Any attempts at maintaining law and order are undermined by the fragility of state structures, and the lack of equipment and infrastructure for the armed forces. These threats also weaken the socioeconomic fabric of local communities and Malian national and territorial unity.

The Malian government endeavours to address these challenges by adopting and implementing security and anti-terrorism policies, as well as social and economic development programmes. External partners support the Malian government in its efforts through a variety of joint anti-terrorism and development policies aiming to strengthen the state's operational capacity in the region. Furthermore, local communities work alongside state actors in the development and securitisation of Northern Mali by employing traditional conflict-management mechanisms (intercommunity and interclan solidarity systems). This strategy builds strong links that considerably reduce the risk of open conflict and contributes to the establishment of a multilevel shared governance system.