Malian Armed Forces Recapture Northeastern Commune of Bourem From CMA Separatists

What You Need To Know: 

Since the Malian Military Junta ordered the withdrawal of the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) from the country in August, and in addition to the forced exit of French Troops in 2022, Tuareg rebels, known as the CMA (Coalition Des Mouvements De L’azawad) have increased their attacks on villages, communes and military outposts in the country’s North, where the group has a foothold. 

Early Tuesday, reports claimed that the CMA had gained control over the Commune of Bourem after hours of fighting. According to WarNoir on Twitter, the CMA shot down a single Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’ (TZ-25C) subsonic jet, the portable surface-to-air missile used likely came from Libya or Chad. However, the Malian Armed Forces conducted retaliatory airstrikes after which it is claimed the CMA retreated from the commune. 10 members of the Malian Army and 46 CMA militants were reportedly killed during the skirmish. 

Stagnation of The Peace Process: 

The CMA seeks autonomy from Mali’s ruling Junta under Assimi Goita, citing that continued neglect from the government has pushed them to fight for independence. The Algiers Peace Agreement, signed by the CMA and the Malian Government in 2015 sought to bring forth peace in Mali through a process of decentralisation and according to the International Crisis Group, “reconstitute a national army from the members of the former armed groups that were signatories, and boost the economy (particularly in the north), based on dialogue, justice and national reconciliation.”

However, with the nation experiencing two coup d’etats since the signing of the agreement, very little has been done to follow through with the promised policies. This, coupled with the imminent withdrawal of a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force constituting MINUSMA, has catapulted the Northern region back into the throes of conflict. 

The Wagner Effect:

The CMA regularly claims to clash with Wagner Troops, who have been employed by Goita to fight against the Separatist CMA and Jihadist rebels. The Wagner track record with Jihadists is spotty, with the mercenary group unable to make ground against Islamic militants in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique, resulting in the group abandoning the mission. 

Furthermore, a statement released to social media by the new CMA-affiliated ‘Azawadian National Army’ claimed the group’s aim is “defending and protecting the homeland and thus regaining control of the entire territory.” In a statement to AFP, the CMA held that they are now in “a time of war,” with the Goita’s junta. 


Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.


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