Speaking with the “Bad Guys”: Toward Dialogue with Central Mali’s Jihadists

Market in Konna, central Mali.

Market in Konna, central Mali. (Photo: MINUSMA/Gema Cortes)

The level of violence in Central Mali is higher than anywhere else in the country. Thousands of civilians have been killed since 2015. The conflict between the state and the Katiba Macina has reached a stalemate but intercommunal violence is also increasing, at times as a proxy to other conflicts. The Malian government should work with religious leaders to pursue ceasefires and talks with militants and local communities. New lines of communication with Katiba Macina leaders and sympathizers would facilitate communication about the unaddressed grievances that cause conflict in the region.

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