Because of the difficult political situation, described by Marwane ben Yahmed in Jeune Afrique as “a war unlike any other so far, involving a great number of factions both among the terrorists and those who are fighting them,” the nationwide state of emergency has been extended for three months. The restrictive measure was decided in Bamako during a special cabinet meeting.
Even with recent victories of the French and Malian troops that lead to the liberation of Kidal, Gao in Timbuktu, the main cities in the north, amid the joy of the crowd there remains the concern that some Islamist cells are hidden among the population. And most importantly, there is a strong need for the Malian authorities to open a genuine national dialogue with the Tuareg that have long-managed trade in the Sahara. For nine months their land has been the domain of armed groups, and they demand respect for their interests and identity.
Even with recent military victory, Mali now faces the possibility of long and violent guerrilla combat, and the joint advance of Malian and French troops also brings fears for the fate of civilians, especially those who belong to the Arab and Tuareg communities considered “close” to the rebel groups.
Slow Food has been active in Mali since 2008 with two Presidia, ten food communities and 60 gardens in the Thousand Gardens in Africa project.
Sources: Jeune Afrique and Africa Confidential
Photo: Timbuktu and Gao Katta Pasta Presidium © Paola Viesi