Konna, a symbol of reconstruction. The Malian Prime Minister of the Transition, Moctar Ouane, visited Konna, in the cercle and region of Mopti, to inaugurate a new fishing port and a new military camp. In this central region of Mali, which is regularly hit by terrorist attacks, the visit aims to symbolise resistance and hope.
Located between the flooded area of the inland Niger delta and the Bandiagara plateaus, at the point of rupture between flooded and non-flooded areas, Konna was attacked from 9 to 17 January 2013 during the war in Mali. It marked the beginning of the French army’s intervention in Mali with the launch of Operation Serval. After several days of bombing, the French-Malian forces counter-attacked on 16 January and regained control of Konna on 17 January.
Since then, the inhabitants of the town have been trying to get back to normal, until this visit by the Malian Prime Minister of the Transition, Moctar Ouane, to inaugurate a new fishing port and a new military camp. In this central region of Mali, regularly hit by terrorist attacks (Ansar Dine, MUJAO, AQIM, Boko Haram), this visit aims to symbolise resistance and hope.
Speaking from the town of Mopti ahead of the visit, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane said that the success of the defence forces should not be measured by « the number of terrorists neutralised » but rather by « the number of villages rescued or defended and by an increased sense of security among civilians ».
On 10 January 2013, the terrorists who held several towns in northern Mali, such as Timbuktu and Gao, took Konna, the last dam before the central town Mopti. Before it was drawn into the war, Konna was a river trade hub. « Konna has a resilient population that since 2013 has not hesitated to fend for itself, men and women everyone fends for themselves. Konna is one of the main fishing ports in the region, everyone knows it from the time of the settlers. Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina everywhere! Everyone used to come to Konna to stock up on fish, » said the deputy mayor of Konna, Demba Samouka.
Eight years later, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane believes that the rehabilitation of the port « is an illustration of what has been started in Konna and will continue ». He congratulated the people for their « resilience ». Despite the increase in attacks in the region and the disappearance of public services, such as the sub-prefect who is no longer physically present.
Since 2015, terrorism has spread to the countryside in central Mali. It is led by the Fulani preacher affiliated to Al Qaeda Amadou Kouffa, who took part in the attack on the town in 2013, and the former Tuareg warlord Iyad Ag Ghali, who heads the Groupe de soutien à l’islam et aux musulmans (GSIM).