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The name Mali was derived from the Mali Empire , also historically referred to as the Manden Kurufaba.

Summary statistics
Region Western Africa
Surface area (sq km) 1240192
Population (est., 000) 15768
Pop. density (per sq km) 12.7
Capital city Bamako
Capital city pop. (000) 2386
Currency CFA Franc (XOF)

Most Recent Incident:Mar. 21st 2016
Gunmen on Monday 21st March attacked a hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, that had been converted into the headquarters of a European Union military training operation, but there no casualties among the mission’s personnel.

Other Facts and Figures.
Mali was rocked by a coup in March 2012 – and a rebellion in the north that has caused alarm around the world.The former colonial power has now deployed troops after an appeal from Mali’s interim president.

Here is an outline of some of the key groups:
1. Ansar Dine
2. Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao),
3. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),
4. The Signed-in-Blood Battalion ,
5. and the Islamic Movement for Azawad (IMA).

Ansar Dine is seen as a home-grown movement, led by renowned former Tuareg rebel leader Iyad Ag Ghaly.Its objective is to impose Islamic law across Mali and its full name in Arabic is Harakat Ansar al-Dine, which translates as “movement of defenders of the faith”. A number of its militants are Tuareg fighters who returned from Libya after fighting alongside Muammar Gaddafi’s troops

Islamic Movement for Azawad split from Ansar Dine in late January 2013 it saays it opposes “terrorism and extremism” and wants to advocate dialogue with the government to resolve grievances of northern Malians

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is al-Qaeda’s North African wing, with roots in Algeria. It is made up mostly of foreign fighters and says it wants to spread Islamic law and liberate Malians from French colonial legacy . It is aLso known for kidnapping Westerners

Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) is an AQIM splinter group whose aim is to spread jihad to the whole of West Africa. Advocates Islamic law and has waged a campaign of violence against Tuareg separatists.

Signed-in-Blood Battalion is a recent AQIM offshoot committed to a global jihad. It is made up mostly of foreign fighters.Has vowed to uphold Sharia in northern Mali and was responsible for January 2013 siege of Algerian gas facility, taking and killing foreign hostages.

National Movement Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) is a secular Tuareg group which seeks independence for a homeland they call Azawad. Cause dates back to when Mali achieved independence in 1960.Many of MNLA’s Tuareg combatants fought alongside Colonel Gaddafi’s troops. Former allies of Ansar Dine and Mujao, but now opposed to Islamist groups.