We publish an unofficial translation of an article by A Nova Demoracia (AND).

Mali: Muslim fighters attack military base

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JNIM fighters in central Mali. Photo: Long War Journal/Screen Capture/al-Zallaqa

On 22 July, fighters possibly linked to the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, JNIM), a coalition of national liberation forces, attacked the Kati military post near Bamako, the capital of the African country. The militants used two cars loaded with explosives to carry out the action. The attack follows a series of attacks on colonial troops that have left at least eight soldiers dead.

The militants arrived in the area around 5am in two vehicles loaded with explosives. The armed action resulted in an exchange of fire and the explosion of the bombs. Two of the militants died, while the number of soldiers killed or wounded was not disclosed.

On 21/07, also at 5am, militants attacked an anti-terrorist special forces (Forsat) post in the town of Kolokani, 110km from Bamako. Explosions, firefights and damage to the post's infrastructure were reported. According to the portal of the group Crisis 24, it is likely that there were casualties. The same portal says it is possible that the militants have temporarily taken control of the town, but this information has yet to be confirmed. Another armed action took place between 14/07 and 15/07 when militants allegedly linked to the JNIM killed six reactionary soldiers and wounded two.

The Kati military post is one of the most important military bases in the country. It was from there that reactionary militants under the command of coup general Assimi Goïta staged a coup in August 2020.

French imperialism in Mali

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French reactionary military patrols in Gao, eastern Mali. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

The territory of Mali is currently divided into different zones under the influence of the major imperialist powers, the USA and Russia, and French imperialism. Since the coup d'état of 2020, Assimi Goïta, lackey of Russian imperialism, has ceded more and more territories to Russian imperialism. Imperialist Russia is trying to oust French imperialism in the region to establish its hegemony in Mali.

The development of anti-imperialist struggle in Mali took a leap in 2012 when due to the brutal exploitation and oppression of the masses crushed under the three mountains of semi-feudalism, bureaucratic capitalism and imperialism, a major popular uprising broke out in the country involving Islamic groups and national minorities organised in the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

In March of the same year, reactionary soldiers under the command of Amadou Sanogo, linked to other sections of Mali's ruling class and unhappy with the way the then president Amadou Touré was handling the rebellion, staged a coup d'état to appease the rebellious masses. In May, Dioncounda Traoré took over as interim president, which he held until July 2013, when new elections were held and Ibrahim Keita, a representative of the big bourgeoisie and lackey of French imperialism, took office. His government continued the brutal repression and exploitation of the Malian people.

In 2013, out of discontent with the struggle against the national liberation forces in Mali, French imperialism unleashed a war of aggression against the country under the pretext of "fighting terrorism". During this period, the MNLA capitulated in its armed struggle, took on the role of imperialism's lackeys and began to fight against the national resistance, mainly Islamist groups. Operation Serval", as the war of aggression was called, was later continued under the name "Operation Barkhane", which is still in use today, and included countries such as Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger in addition to Mali. Since the beginning of the operation, the national liberation forces have evolved, increased their ranks and carried out more armed actions.

Assimi Goïta: Puppet of Russian Imperialism

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Militiamen from the Wagner Group, a paramilitary group of Russian imperialism, are used to fight the African National Liberation Forces. Photo: AP

In 2020, in the midst of major protests against the government of Ibrahim Keita, which was characterised by corruption and nepotism, putschist military forces under the command of Assimi Goïta took advantage of the country's institutional and political crisis and the anti-Keita sentiment of the masses to carry out a coup d'état. Since taking office, Goïta has moved away from French imperialism and closer to Russian imperialism, mainly through agreements with the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organisation linked to the Russian state. Goïta's strategy is to turn away from French imperialism, which is already despised by the masses, but to maintain the country as a colony, this time of Russian imperialism, in an opportunist manoeuvre to appear as a nationalist.

After the massive protests of 2020 against French imperialism and the continuing armed actions of the national liberation groups, the French imperialist state announced in 2021 that it would reduce its troops stationed in Mali from 2022. Since February, the military bases of French imperialism have been deactivated amid massive protests and the reactionary troops have returned to France. But Goïta, a loyal henchman of Russian imperialism, has replaced the French troops with troops of the superpower Russia. As early as January 2022, after the French troops abandoned the base in Timbuktu, Russian troops filled the gap. On 14 April 2022, the number of Russian troops linked to the Wagner Group in Mali was around 1,000. Between January and April 2022, Russian and Malian troops were responsible for the deaths of around 456 civilians.

It is the task of the Malian people not to be deceived by exchanges with the imperialist masters, as Goïta wants, and to wage their national liberation struggle above all under genuinely revolutionary banners. As the journal Communist International states in the text "Imperialism and the Coup d'États in Africa": „The deep masses are permeated from head to toe, imbued to the bones, to the heart, with hatred for imperialism. They are throwing themselves into combat. They are rushing to get their hands on arms so that they can make a flaming hell for the imperialists and their lackeys. The problem is that we are not there to lead them, and so just like what was the case in Afghanistan, the struggle of the masses is being fought under reactionary banners. The just struggle of the masses is being misled and they will eventually be betrayed by reactionaries, as long as it does not have the leadership of the Communist Party.“