Kidal Profile

The town of Kidal is located in the Kidal region of northern Mali (see map right ~ region in red, town blue spot) a desert region with temperatures reaching as high as 45 degrees Celsius during the day. The region has a population 85,000 with 40,000 living in Kidal itself and the economy, such as it is, is largely based on livestock breeding, craft-making, tourism and commerce. Kidal was also home to a large military base of the Armed and Security Forces of Mali (Forces Armées et de Sécurité du Mali) which patrolled the area after the creation of the Kidal Region in 1991 following the fall of Mali's president Moussa Traoré. Kidal was created a region with its own governor in an attempt to dampen demands for independence for the area by its mostly mostly Tuareg and Songhai population.

Kidal AzawadKidal is located within Azawad ('land of transhumance') which has been an area in conflict for hundreds of years being the focus of rebellions by the Taureg, descendants of the people who founded Timbuktu in the 11th Century. In January 2012, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared an insurrection against Mali rule that would continue for as long as the government in Bamako refused to acknowledge it as a separate territory.

n March 2012 Kidal was captured by the MNLA and was quickly abandoned by the government "to preserve the life of the people of Kidal". Many soldiers were killed and others defected. The following week on 6 April, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad declared independence from Mali and the imposition of strict Sharia law. The declaration has received no international support.

Kidal DroughtWhilst these events have further isolated Kidal which already had poor infrastructure, no real roads nor rivers for transportation, one of the main ongoing issues is the lack of water with erratic rain patterns creating a severe water shortage. Until the declaration of independence for the area the Mali government was working hard to transport water into Kidal to prevent the deaths of further scores of animals that were dying of thirst (right). As one teacher reported "The heat, the sun we are used to that. But we cannot bear a lack of water."

Today the future for Kidal is unclear. The coup has led to a collapse of the tourist industry as people had visited to see the rock and cave paintings of Tamaradant and Tessalit as well as the Adrar des Iforhas Mountains and its black rocks. Kidal is also seeing dissent amongst those who declared the independence of Azawad.

Whilst the MNLA wants its independence for Azawad recognised the other rebel group, Ansar Dine, wants to maintain Mali as a single country operating as a theocracy under Sharia law. As one reporter commented "The crisis is becoming tribal. After having fought the Malian army together ... the two groups are now fighting on a tribal basis. It's very dangerous."


Kidal Profile: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license

Kidal Profile

Kidal Profile

Kidal Profile

Kidal Profile

Kidal Profile


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