How the fall of Gaddafi destabilised Mali

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The first round of presidential elections was held last Sunday in Mali, the former French colony in West Africa which has become a key centre of the battle, led by France, against jihadist groups operating in the Sahel. Outgoing president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, 73, hoping for re-election, is roundly attacked by his rivals for having failed to bring security to the country, despite France’s military intervention against jihadists in 2013 and the continued presence of thousands of UN peacekeepers. In this analysis of the enduring instability in Mali, Rémi Carayol details how it was fuelled by the toppling of the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

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More than five years have passed since France launched its military intervention in Mali to push back jihadist forces from overrunning the country, but the profound crisis into which this West African nation of around 18 million people has long been plunged, in part from the results of the civil war in Libya in 2011, remains.