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A Southern View on the Tuareg Rebellions in Mali

  • Kassim Kone

Since Mali’s independence in 1960, the Tuareg, a minority ethnic group, have staged successive rebellions, with the major ones occurring in 1963, 1990, 2006, and 2012. While discussions of “the Tuareg issue” have sometimes led both the Malian and the international press, as well as scholars, to make inaccurate generalizations, it is true that almost all the armed conflicts of the past fifty years in Mali were originated by people of the Tuareg group. Therefore, many of their Malian compatriots hold the Tuareg people responsible for the destruction of life and human rights violations that have taken place since the beginning of 2012. This article focuses on the events of 2012 and their aftermath and explores some social, cultural, and political differences between northern Tuareg and southern Bamana peoples in particular. It asks two specific questions: Is there something about Tuareg society, culture, and politics (i.e., Tuareg identity) that causes an incompatibility with the Mali Republic? And if not, where has the Malian government failed through the successive regimes since independence?

Depuis l’indépendance du Mali en 1960, les Touaregs, groupe ethnique minoritaire, ont organisé des rébellions successives, dont les plus importantes ont eu lieu en 1963, 1990, 2006 et 2012. Alors que les discussions de “la question touarègue” ont conduit parfois les maliens et la presse internationale, ainsi que des universitaires, a faire des généralisations inexactes, il est vrai que presque tous les conflits armés de ces cinquante dernières années au Mali ont pour origine le groupe Touareg. Par conséquent, bon nombre de leurs compatriotes maliens tiennent le peuple touareg responsable de la destruction de la vie et des violations des droits de l’homme qui ont eu lieu depuis le début de 2012. Cet article se concentre sur les événements de 2012 et leurs conséquences et explore certaines différences sociales, culturelles et politiques entre les peuples Touareg du Nord et Bamana du Sud en particulier. Cet article pose deux questions spécifiques: Y a-t-il quelque chose sur la société, culture et politique touarègue (c’est-à-dire l’identité touarègue) qui est à la base d’une incompatibilité avec la République du Mali? Et sinon, où est-ce que le gouvernement malien a-t-il échoué dans les régimes successifs depuis l’indépendance?

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African Studies Review
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