For many decades now, Mali has periodically been hit by internal conflicts, opposing Tuareg rebels to the national government, the most recent rebellion taking place in 2012. It was led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA), equipped with arms coming from the Libyan civil war, where many Tuaregs fought. However, the jihadists armed actions in Mali are a much more recent story. Several groups, such as Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine, or the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) have developed in recent years. AQIM that aims at establishing an islamic State in Algeria, has endorsed Ansar Dine and inspired MOJWA, which want to spread the jihad and, mostly, to turn Mali into an islamic State. Therefore, these movements profited from the Tuareg’s rebellion to hit the national government as well. But contrary to the NMLA, they did not want an independent Azawad region, they wanted to impose sharia law across Mali. In 2012, they were able to do it in many northern Mali cities, until Malian and French troops intervened. The accounts are many, from small prohibitions such as smoking cigarettes, to little girls being hit in the street for not being entirely covered, to men who got their hands cut for having stolen something, to simple summary executions. Now Timbuktu and Gao are liberated of this terrible rule. The question is for how long, now that French troops have started to withdraw…? You can read more about this matter here or here!