Separatist Group Seizes Military Base in Northern Mali
A separatist group in northern Mali, known as the Permanent Strategic Framework (PSF), has captured a military base in the city of Bourem, in the Gao region.
The group claims that it is responding to the presence of a Russian private security firm and the aggression of the Malian army.
PSF Claims Victory over Government Forces
The PSF announced in a statement that it has taken over the military camp in Bourem, as well as other strategic locations that were under the control of the government forces. The group said that it has inflicted heavy losses on the enemy and seized weapons and vehicles.
The PSF said that its attack was a reaction to the “provocations” of the Malian army and Wagner, a Russian private security company that has been accused of supporting the government in exchange for mining concessions. The group said that it will not tolerate any foreign interference or occupation in northern Mali.
PSF Calls for Mobilization and Caution
The PSF is a coalition of nationalist groups from northern Mali, which calls itself Azawad. The coalition was formed in 2021, with the aim of unifying the efforts of different movements that seek more autonomy or independence for the region.
The leader of the PSF, Alghabass Ag Intalla, called for a broad mobilization of the people of Azawad for “national defense”. He also urged civilians to avoid military sites that are now targeted by his group, to protect themselves from harm.
PSF Includes Diverse Movements
The PSF includes two main factions: the Azawad Movements Coordination (CMA), which advocates for independence, and the Platform group, which supports unity with Mali but with some disagreements. The two factions signed a peace agreement with the Malian government in 2015, but have since accused it of violating its terms.
The PSF also includes other smaller groups, such as the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA), the High Council for Unity of Azawad (HCUA) and the Coalition for the People of Azawad (CPA). The PSF says that it represents the aspirations and interests of all the communities of Azawad.
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