Elders, tribal leaders, and opinion leaders of the Tuareg community in the Azawad region sent a speech to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, condemning the international silence over the security, political, and social situation they are enduring. This is due to the killings and displacement conducted by the Malian army, backed by the Wagner Group and Turkish airstrikes.
The signatories, including individuals like Mohamed Ag Intalla Zeid Ag Hamza and Shaghib Ag Attahir, conveyed in the letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General at the end of last October that “the war waged by Mali’s transitional government against the permanent strategic framework for peace, security, and development (Alliance of Movements and Ethnical Movements) is a comprehensive war, accompanied by a humanitarian catastrophe,” as reported by the ‘London Arab’ newspaper.
Tuareg community leaders pointed fingers at Mali’s ruling military council and armed Wagner Group mercenaries and Turkey. They blamed them for supporting attacks using drones targeting local civilians, sparing neither children nor women.
The Tanagra media outlet, a platform advocating for the Azawad people’s rights, shared images and recordings demonstrating the victims of airstrikes and military massacres conducted by the Malian army, supported by the Russian Wagner Group and Turkey.
They noted that since the withdrawal of French forces and the United Nations peacekeepers (MINUSMA) from the area, armed attacks against the Azawad people have increased, especially during this month. The Malian army has executed several military operations, “resulting in the deaths of more than 30 citizens, including schoolchildren,” according to the ‘Arab’ source.
The letter, copies of which were sent to Algeria and France, stated that “we never considered for a moment that Turkey would engage in a partnership with a state that employs mercenaries outside the law to kill Muslims in their homes, through the provision of its means and technologies to exacerbate the suffering of the oppressed Azawad people. And it is the Turkish machine that will do this, leading to the loss of our children’s lives.”
Local chiefs and leaders, filled with disappointment, emphasized: “We, like all Muslims, are delighted with Turkey’s ability to manufacture advanced drones with a remarkable presence on the international scene. Unfortunately, our vulnerable people are currently experiencing massacres by the Malian armed forces and Wagner mercenaries, who are invading the Azawad region and its population and assets. This is carried out using Turkish-made Bayraktar drones, which is unacceptable and incomprehensible from a Muslim state against its Muslim brethren.”
They highlighted the reckless behavior of Mali’s ruling military council, which offers Turkish engineers from the Baykar company honorary distinctions after massacres against the Azawad civilians, showing the extent of cooperation and harmony between the parties.
Turkey was held accountable for the current situation, being a country aware of the conditions of people who share the same faith as itself. All its resources are used to strike civilian targets to exterminate the Muslim population in Azawad, forcing them to leave their residences and abandon their possessions.
The conflict between the Azawad people dates back to the 1950s during the French colonial presence in the area. Community leaders demanded independence and to not be part of the governments in the southern region (Mali and Niger). In 1963, they initiated the first uprising against Modibo Keita’s communist government.
It’s worth mentioning that the region has recorded several military operations since the beginning of November, including assassinations, displacement, and repression of local populations, according to Azawadi platforms. Reports described an operation carried out last Tuesday using Turkish drones resulting in the deaths of a group of children in front of a school near the camp vacated by MINUSMA in Kidal. Additionally, airstrikes targeted a meeting of city elders, leading to the deaths of 14 individuals, including children and local leaders, while 30 people were injured, including 21 children, according to local sources.
The battles between the Malian army and the Tuaregs resumed on Sunday in the Kidal region, which is a significant challenge for sovereignty for the central state, where the army is advancing, as reported by military officials and elected representatives.