Mali's armed forces are comprised of the Army, Air Force, Gendarmerie, Republican Guard, National Guard, and National Police (Sûreté Nationale). They number some 7,000 and are under the control of the Minister of Armed Forces and Veterans. The IISS Military Balance 2009 lists an Army of 7,350, Air Force of 400, and Navy of 50.  The Gendarmerie and local police forces (under the Ministry of Interior and Security) maintain internal security. The IISS lists paramilitary total force as 4,800: 1,800 Gendarmerie (8 companies), 2,000 Republican Guard, and 1,000 Police. In the sixties and seventies, Mali's army and air force relied primarily on the Soviet Union for materiel and training. A few Malians receive military training in the United States, France, and Germany. Military expenditures total about 13% of the national budget.
"On 1 October 1960, the Malian army was created and solemnly installed through a speech by Chief of Staff Captain Sekou Traore. On 12 October the same year the population of Bamako attending for the first time an army parade under the command of Captain Tiemoko Konate. Organizationally, says Sega Sissoko, is the only battalion of Segou and includes units scattered across the territory. A memo from the Chief of Staff ordered a realignment of the battalion. Following on, a command and services detachment in Bamako was created, and the engineer company in Segou, the first Saharan motorized company of Gao, the Saharan Motor Company of Kidal, the Arouane nomad group, nomadic group of Timetrine, the 1st Reconnaissance Company and Nioro 2nd Reconnaissance Company Tessalit. As of January 16, 1961, Mali's army totaled 1232 men."
On November 19, 1968, a group of young Malian officers staged a bloodless coup and set up a 14-member military junta, with Lt. Moussa Traoré as president. The military leaders attempted to pursue economic reforms, but for several years faced debilitating internal political struggles and the disastrous Sahelian drought. A new constitution, approved in 1974, created a one-party state and was designed to move Mali toward civilian rule. However, the military leaders remained in power. Single-party presidential and legislative elections were held in June 1979, and Gen. Moussa Traoré received 99% of the votes. His efforts at consolidating the single-party government were challenged in 1980 by student-led anti-government demonstrations, which were brutally put down, and by three coup attempts. The Traore governmentruled throughout the 1970s and 1980s. On March 26, 1991, after four days of intense anti-government rioting, a group of 17 military officers, led by current President Amadou Toumani Touré, arrested President Traoré and suspended the constitution. They formed a civilian-heavy provisional ruling body, and and initiated a process that led to democratic elections.
The First Tuareg Rebellion began in 1990 when Tuareg separatists attacked government buildings around Gao. The armed forces' reprisals led to a full-blown rebellion in which the absence of opportunities for Tuareg in the army was a major complaint. The conflict died down after Alpha Konaré formed a new government and made reparations in 1992. Also, Mali created a new self-governing region, the Kidal Region, and provided for greater Tuareg integration into Malian society. In 1994, Tuareg, reputed to have been trained and armed by Libya, attacked Gao, which again led to major Malian Army reprisals and to the creation of the Ghanda Koi Songhai militia to combat the Tuareg. Mali effectively fell into civil war.
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