Speaking to a Tuareg leader, Shindouk Ould Najim: ‘Mali is on the verge of national reconciliation’

‘We are cruelly lacking a system of administration that is efficient, incorruptible, honest and above all patriotic and based on the principle of social justice’, says Shindouk Ould Najim, the exiled leader of the Oulad Najim community. ‘It is entirely up to the Malian authorities to enforce the law and stop acting with impunity’. In an interview released to Les Echos (Mali), Le Calame (Mauritania), L’Enquêteur (Niger), L’Autre Quotidien (Benin), and Afronline, Shindouk shares his hopes on the agreement signed between Mali’s government and Tuareg-led rebels in July, as well as his fears regarding the inability to secure sustainable peace in Mali and the Sahel region.

Shindouk’s tribe is located on a territory 120 km north-east of Timbuktu in Mali. A place where he led the construction of the first desert school and rehabilitated his ancestors’ wells. Married to an American woman named Miranda, Shindouk and his family fled in extremis in March 2012 when Timbuktu was invaded by armed groups and Islamists. They took shelter in Nova Scotia, Canada. Starting with the emergence of terrorism in the Saharan region to the return of Tuaregs from in 2011, followed by the arrival numerous Jihadists, his family’s flight to America and the intervention of French troops in January 2013, Shindouk has traced the history of his country and the rifts in Malian society in an edited volume published in 2013 (Je reviendrai à Tombouctou: Un chef Touareg témoigne, de S. O. Najim, Laurence Ammour et Jean-Luc Peduzzi, Ed. Ixelles).

Click here to read the full interview in French.

By Joshua Massarenti, Alexis Kalambry and Ian Mansour de la Grange, in collaboration with Laurence Ammour

© Les Echos, Le Calame, L’Autre Quotidien, L’Enquêteur, Afronline.org

Photo credit: Shindouk Ould Najim