SIPRI, in cooperation with the European Union delegation in Mali, assembled representatives from two regions of central Mali (Mopti and Segou) to map security concerns and discuss ways to improve the development and security situation. Present in the discussion groups were a range of civil society stakeholders in Malian society: women, youth, traditional and religious leaders. The meeting was held in Bamako.
The primary security concerns identified by the discussion groups were in the following order of priority: jihadism, land problems, inter-community conflict, social injustice, unemployment and lack of infrastructures (roads, water supply, schools).
There was consensus that – in order to improve the situation – the return of internal security forces to the respective communities is needed as well as the return of basic services offered by the state. The re-installment of local security forces – especially the Gendarmerie and Garde Nationale – would be welcomed, participants said, as it would help fight criminality and enable free circulation of people. As it currently stands, banditry on the roads is a further prominent security concern of the population of central Mali.
By targeting the recruitment of young people to local security forces, youth unemployment would be combatted at the same time. The state and its decentralized state authorities were named by the discussion groups to be the first to address the situation.
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