Mali. According to
Countryaah reports, Tuaregic rebels in northern Mali returned to arms in
March, despite several previous peace agreements with the
government. Several civilians were killed in rebel attacks
and dozens of soldiers were taken hostage. Through mediation
of Libya, a ceasefire agreement was concluded in April and
the army promised to reduce its troop presence in the
region. In May, however, Tuaregic guerrillas again attacked
an army posting. This time the intention was to avenge the
murder of a rebel leader.
New talks in September led to both sides releasing
prisoners. But despite the hope of a permanent peace again,
new clashes took place with about 20 casualties in December.
The Tuareg states demand increased state investment in
Northern Mali, more state services for Tuareg and a larger
share of the state's income.
The government's decision in principle in October 2007 to
formally abolish the death penalty stuck in Parliament,
where conservative Muslim groups claimed that it was against
Islam not to execute murderers. Mali has not carried out any
executions since 1979 and the government now seemed inclined
not to continue the issue for the time being due to concerns
about fragmentation in the nation.
Attempts to push through a new family law were also
curbed by Islamic groups. They protested that only civil
marriage would be allowed and that women should have the
same inheritance right and the right to own property as men.