Mali's military leadership has officially terminated a significant peace agreement with Tuareg separatist rebels in the northern region of the country.
The government's spokesperson, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, made this announcement in a televised statement on Thursday.
This development signals a major shift in Mali's efforts to maintain peace and stability in a region that has witnessed escalating jihadist violence since 2012.
The peace deal in question, known as the Algiers Accord, was initially signed in 2015 with the support of the United Nations.
It had been regarded as a crucial agreement aimed at quelling the unrest and insurgency in the northern regions of Mali.
The accord's primary objectives included the integration of former rebel fighters into the national army and granting greater autonomy to various regions within Mali.
However, tensions and disputes surrounding the agreement have been steadily escalating.
The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), the group representing the Tuareg rebels, accused the government in Bamako of abandoning the peace deal as early as July 2022.
Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, the government spokesperson, cited the "complete impossibility" of maintaining the deal and announced its immediate termination.
The junta in Mali attributed this decision to a "change in posture of certain signatory groups" and cited "acts of hostility" from Algeria, which had been the primary mediator of the peace accord.
Notably, tensions between Mali and Algeria have been mounting, with Mali accusing Algeria of interference and unfriendly actions.
In December of the previous year, Mali's government summoned the Algerian ambassador, alleging that the diplomat had held meetings with Tuareg separatist leaders.
Furthermore, signs of the peace agreement's unraveling were evident when clashes erupted between Mali's military forces and the separatist groups in August of the same year.
This breakdown in the accord coincided with Mali's political instability, including two coups since 2020, resulting in military rule and strained relations with Western powers involved in counterinsurgency operations.
As a consequence of the deteriorating situation, Mali's junta ordered the withdrawal of UN peacekeeping troops and French forces that had been combating insurgents in northern Mali.