On 7 November, local media reported that the Malian government was prepared to hold peace talks with the Kidal-based jihadi group, Ansar Dine, following mediation talks led by Burkinabé President Compaoré in his country's capital, Ouagadougou.
Ansar Dine's unilateral ceasefire declaration does not lower the risk of kidnaps to expatriates, or jihadi attacks on business assets. The jihadi group is highly unlikely to compromise on the implementation of Sharia law across the north and sever ties with other Islamist groups, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and The Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), based in northern Mali. Thus, the talks are unlikely to result in concessions from either side. Their engagement in peace talks is a time-buying strategy to raise funds and recruit fighters ahead of a probable ECOWAS military intervention. Risk of opportunistic kidnap in Bamako and mining areas in the south by Islamist groups, in particular MUJAO, is high.
The coming week is the final campaign week before presidential and parliamentary elections on 17 November.
On 2 November 2012, fighting took place between supporters of the opposition party, SLPP, and the ruling party, APC, in Kenema, as well as between SLPP and supporters of the PMDC (a party which broke away from SLPP) in Bo. More than five people were injured whilst the residence of the APC parliamentary candidate for Constituency 10 was attacked. There is an increasing risk of sporadic and localised fighting between SLPP and APC supporters and SLPP and PMDC supporters. Fighting is likely to take place away from the central business district. This will involve stone-throwing and the use of knives and metal pipes, raising the risk of injury to bystanders and collateral damage to nearby vehicles. The protests pose a moderate risk of disrupting mining activities.
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