From the West African country of Mali comes a story of an isolated village where the locals have banded together to fight off terrorists with whatever they have.
Mali has been in the midst of a low-key war since 2012 that started off with Tuareg rebels fighting the government and transitioned to an international effort led by a 4,000-strong French military force (the country was a French colony until 1960) squaring off with a trio of wannabe Al-Qaeda jihadist groups in an ongoing asymmetric war pitting Western airpower against increasingly aggressive militants. However, according to the above report from France24, the village of Koina has been left without any protection by the army for months and the locals are doing what they have to.
“There is no symbol of the state’s authority here,” says village chief Boukadari Tangara, showing off old B&W photos of his prior service in the French military.
With the schools closed and insurgents prowling, Tangara has formed his own 25-member village defense force.
“The people here are fed-up with the jihadists,” said Adama Coulibaly, a member of Koina’s Brigade de Vigilance with interesting headgear.
A look at their equipment shows the force armed with break-action single barrel shotguns, hunting rifles, and what looks to be a muzzleloader. Pretty primitive stuff to stand up to determined insurgents, but hey, you go to war with what you have…
The reason there are no ARs or even some rusty old French MAS rifles among the brigade is likely due to strict laws against such “weapons of war.” According to the University of Sydney’s gun policy research project, firearms in Mali are regulated by the Minister of Internal Security, control of which is categorized as “restrictive.” Further, there is no right to bear arms, handguns as well as semi-automatic or repeating firearms are largely banned, and all guns have to be registered. Unlawful gun possession will get you five years in the clink. Because why would you need an AR, right?