Mali. 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.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of ML in general and in geography as Mali in particular.
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.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Mali in 2008 was 15,049,242, ranking number 65 in the world. The population growth rate was 3.330% yearly, and the population density was 12.3336 people per km2.