The boycotting of a peace deal by Mali’s main Tuareg rebel group leaves in doubt the likelihood of bringing security to the country after years of chaos and violence.

The Algerian foreign minister who helped mediate the deal, said on Friday that Mali’s government, allied armed groups and two groups under the separatist coalition signed the agreement. Three groups in the coalition, including the Tuareg-dominated National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, however, did not.

The Tuaregs want greater autonomy for Mali’s northern region and have risen up against the government several times since the country’s independence from France in 1960. The most recent uprising in 2012 enabled jihadists to seize half of Mali, which prompted a French military intervention.

A consequence of the uprising was that armed Islamist groups ruling the region banned the practice of other religions and desecrated and looted churches. Thousands, including many Christians, fled the occupation. Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Yattara, President of the Baptist Church, mainly present in northern Mali, told World Watch Monitor in 2014 that it is no exaggeration to say that Islamists had attempted to erase the presence of Christianity in northern Mali.

The Asst. Secretary General for UN Peacekeeping Operations said at the signing on 15 May “the fact that only some of the parties had signed the agreement today should not serve as a pretext for the resumption of military operations against non-signatories”.

Source: Deutsche Welle