The West African country's state of emergency is due to end, but violence in the northeast might prompt another unanimous extension by the parliament. The emergency was declared in Nov 2015 after jihadists stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako killing 20 people, mostly foreigners, in an attack claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliates.
Tuareg rebellions in the north, along with attacks by Islamists, have compounded Mali's instability since independence in 1960. The rebels seized control of northern Mali, declaring independence in 2012. In the same year, jihadists captured the main northern cities. They destroyed many Muslim shrines that offend their puritan views, including the world-renowned mausoleums in Timbuktu.
The vote for the extension of the state of emergency, which gives security services greater powers and restricts public gatherings, came as renewed violence broke out in the northeast, where local sources said former Tuareg rebels were battling members of a pro-government armed group for control of the city. The French news agency AFP, which reported the extension, notes that although the Islamists were largely ousted by an ongoing French-led military operation launched in January 2013, sporadic assaults from desert hideouts are common.
Date written/update: 2016-08-03