Mali. In January, Sweden's Foreign Minister, Defense
Minister and ÖB Mali and the Swedish UN troop visited about
250 soldiers in Timbuktu. The peace process was discussed
with the Mali government and the issue of a kidnapped Swede
Following the Swedish ministerial visit, a video hostage
was posted on YouTube, where a masked man pronounced threats
against Sweden. The kidnappers were considered to belong to
al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).
Militant Islamists and separatist groups ravaged northern
Mali and the peace agreement from the previous year was
powerless. The UN force MINUSMA is repeatedly attacked,
including by suicide bombers, with several deaths as a
result. In March, the EU forces headquarters were also
attacked in the capital Bamako.
In May, new terrorist acts were carried out with several
UN soldiers as victims. According to UN data, a total of 65
UN soldiers had lost their lives during MINUSMA's operation
in Mali since 2013. Thus, it was the most dangerous of UN
At Mali's call, the UN Security Council decided to
increase the UN force in the country from 12,000 to 15,200
soldiers and police.
countryaah, Sweden decided to increase aid to Mali to SEK 240 million
per year for five years. Among other things, experts on
peace and conflict resolution will be sent to the country.
The state of emergency that was in force due to the
violence in the country was extended twice during the year.
This gives the security service increased powers and limits
the freedom of assembly. According to the government,
thousands of people had been arrested with the help of the
At least 17 government soldiers were killed in July in an
armed attack against a military base, and 35 people were
injured. New fighting broke out between Tuaregrebel and the
loyalist militia in the north with many casualties.
In September, the Minister of Defense was replaced after
the attack on the military base and after military allies
lost a battle against militant jihadists in the central part
of the country.
Jihadist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi (also known as Abu
Tourab) was sentenced in September by the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to nine years in prison
for war crimes by destroying cultural heritage. It was the
first verdict of its kind and the ICC hoped it would help
protect the world's ancient monuments.
The defendant acknowledged and asked the Mali people for
forgiveness. He had ordered attacks in 2012 in the World
Heritage City of Timbuktu, where the famous Sidi Yahia
mosque from the 15th century was destroyed, as were small
mausoleums in clay.
After intensive work on restoring the mosque, it was
reopened in the presence of politicians, religious leaders,
diplomats and UNESCO representatives who oversee world
In October, the opposition held demonstrations with
thousands of participants in Bamako to protest against a new
electoral law. Among other things, the fee had been sharply
raised for those who want to run for election. The
government was also accused of silencing the opposition in
Swedish UN soldiers in Timbuktu suffered a suicide attack
in October when a man blew himself up when the Swedes were
on a search mission. None of the UN soldiers were injured.
The Islamist group Ansar al-Din's religious leader
declared in October that the group announced a unilateral
ceasefire. The group has ties to al-Qaeda and has fought the