Ansar Dine


Ansar Dine

Ansar Dine (aka: Ansar al Din) is an Islamist inspired separatist group in Mali that was founded in 2011 by Iyad Ag Ghali, an Ifoghas Tuareg militant leader.

The group has connections with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and fighters were prominent in the occupation of northern Mali (Azawad) following a military coup in 2012. In loose cooperation with other separatist and Islamist groups, Ansar Dine took control of much of northern Mali and occupied its main towns Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu, until forced back into the desert by Malian, French, and regional forces in 2013.

It implemented a harsh form of sharia in areas under its control in 2012 and 2013 and has refused to renounce aims to implement sharia across wider regions of the Sahel during peace negotiations with the government.

Emily Mellgard, Centre on Religion & Geopolitics