Historically, Mali is a land of science, knowledge, and wealth – it is home to the ancient city of Timbuktu and its great libraries and mosques; the richest Emperor known to human civilization, Mansa Musa I; and the Dogon tribe, believed to have mapped celestial charts well before modern science. Today, however, the country is war-torn and in the midst of a rising crisis. The country’s north is a haven for jihadists, armed groups, and separatist militias that are destabilizing the entire tri-border region between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The country has remained on the brink of complete collapse since 2012 when a coup and widespread violence erupted. Northwest Mali remained under extremist control for months after the fighting began before being liberated by the Malian Army (FAMa) and a French-led military coalition.
Today, Mali is formally under government control with the help of United Nations peacekeepers and a French-led counterterrorism effort. However, it remains under constant threat: Extremist ideas are resurgent, IED attacks on the road between Bamako and the north are increasing, and groups like AQIM, Islamic State, National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), Ansar Dine, and MUJAO operate across the region.
In cooperation with the US Department of State, US military advisers are working to build the capacity of the FAMa to better combat violent extremism. Recently, these US troops were contacted by Malian military leadership for assistance in constructing a facility to allow for military training in the hot desert sun and to help bolster security operations in the region. Understanding the importance of training, the harsh Saharan environment of Mali, and that FAMa commandos would soon be deploying to Northern Mali, the US team on the ground passed the information from FAMa leadership to Spirit of America.
With your generous support, we can fund the construction of a training pavilion to facilitate more effective training that will help save lives and further counterterrorism efforts in the country. This effort will also reinforce the US commitment to the people of Mali and serve as a testament to the enduring partnership between the local military and US government.