Violent extremism has become a regular occurrence in villages across Malian territory owing to the intense presence of armed terrorist groups and the weak presence of security forces. However, the latter has made some localities susceptible to terrorists’ attacks and influence. Just as the northern regions of the country – including Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal, which have been characterized by chronic insecurity, and have witnessed high levels of armed attacks and other crimes, the central regions; Segou and Mopti remain unexempted to terrorist activities.

Jihadist threats are commonplace in towns/villages across the Niono Cercle, Segou region. This is the case in the town of Farabougou which has witnessed a wave of Jihadist threats in recent times. The area has been the main focus among villages controlled by armed groups owing to recent discord between armed groups and the population in the said village.

            Malian troops at Farabougou

Farabougou is a village located in the Segou region. Surrounded by suspected jihadists, the village had been placed under siege since October 2020 when a Jihadists Group (Katiba Macina) affiliated with the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) abducted several inhabitants. The group then took position around the vicinity of the village, blocking all access routes. The blockade was characterized by a halt in daily activities; such as farming, movement restriction, and was followed by a series of attacks against the inhabitants, as any attempt to enter the area resulted in the deaths and injuries of many civilians.

In March 2021, reports indicated that the traditional Dozo hunters and Katiba Macina jihadist group opted for a ceasefire agreement in Niono Cercle, after a series of attacks by Jihadists in the Farabougou. This accord was facilitated with the intervention of the High Islamic Council (HCI). The agreement between the two parties allowed the lifting of a blockade on the village of Farabougou in the Niono Cercle and its surroundings and the release of the first hostages among others. Sequel to the temporary accord, reports state that one of the demands of the jihadist group to ensure the ceasefire is that the Malian army leaves the village of Farabougou within a month.

After a few months of calm, hostility risk has resumed between the armed groups and the population in the Niono Cercle a resurgence in terrorists’ activities has been reported in the Cercle in recent weeks owing to a breach of the ceasefire agreement. Farabougou village remains under the control of the jihadist groups. Similarly, the Dogofry district, Mariko Commune, Dionguebougou, Tisse, Sibi, Dongoly and Songo villages in the Segou region remain besieged by the Jihadists who are likely to have launched successive attacks against civilians.

Escalating insecurity will continue to pose a significant challenge to Mali’s economic growth, and political stability. The operational environment remains unstable in the Segou region as violent Islamist and inter-communal attacks persist. Incessant attacks on Malian government security forces highlights the staunch presence of Islamic insurgents operating across Mali. The weak state of security coverage across Mali remains an engendering factor in the continuity of terrorist operations.