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Sahel: ‘For Paris and Algiers, negotiating with Iyad Ag Ghaly is a major point of contention’

By Jihâd Gillon
Posted on Tuesday, 8 June 2021 09:39

Iyad Ag Ghali © AFP

Algerian researcher Adib Bencherif discusses the implications of Algiers reopening the Sahelian security dossier after several years of neglect.

Algiers is a relatively discrete player in the Sahel crisis, but it is still concerned about the evolution of its southern neighbours’ political and security situation; particularly in Mali, where a new coup d’état – the second in less than a year – has resulted in Colonel Assimi Goïta ascending to the presidency of the transitional government.

The Sahel dossier has become top priority for the Algerian government and the army due to several factors:

  • the release of 100 jihadists in exchange for hostages Soumaïla Cissé and Sophie Pétronin as well as the payment of a ransom amounting to several million dollars
  • criticism of the Algiers Accords and the recurrent accusations of complacency directed at the leader of the Groupe de Soutien à l’Islam et aux Musulmans (GSIM) Iyad Ag Ghaly.