In accordance with Section 6 (j) of its Guidelines, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 2374 (2017) concerning Mali makes accessible a narrative summary of reasons for the listing for individuals and entities included in the sanctions list.
Mahamadou Ag Rhissa was listed on 20 December 2018 pursuant to paragraphs 1 and 3 of resolution 2374 (2017) for actions taken that obstruct, or that obstruct by prolonged delay, or that threaten the implementation of the Agreement; acting for or on behalf of or at the direction of or otherwise supporting or financing individuals and entities identified in subparagraphs (a) and (b) above, including through the proceeds from organized crime, including the production and trafficking of narcotic drugs and their precursors originating in or transiting through Mali, the trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants, the smuggling and trafficking of arms as well as the trafficking in cultural property; and planning, directing, or committing acts in Mali that violate international human rights law or international humanitarian law, as applicable, or that constitute human rights abuses or violations, including those involving the targeting of civilians, including women and children, through the commission of acts of violence (including killing, maiming, torture, or rape or other sexual violence), abduction, enforced disappearance, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge.
Mahamadou Ag Rhissa, alias Mohamed Talhandak, is an influential businessman in Kidal region and member of the Haut conseil pour l’unicité de l’Azawad (HCUA). In 2016, he represented the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA) during meetings in Bamako concerning the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation.
Ag Rhissa evolved in trafficking petrol between Algeria and Kidal and came to control migrant smuggling through the border town Talhandak. Migrants testified about the abusive practices of Ag Rhissa, including forced labour, corporal punishment and imprisonment. Ag Rhissa has held and facilitated sexual exploitation of at least two women, releasing them only after payments of CFA 150,00-175,000 ($US 300-350).
On 1 October 2017, Barkhane forces raided two of his house in the Kidal area on suspicion having relations with terrorist networks. Ag Rhissa was briefly arrested. On 4 November 2017, he allegedly participated in terrorist armed group meeting in the Mali-Algeria border area.
As official representative of the CMA in the peace process, Ag Rhissa’s involvement in terrorism, organised crime and human rights abuses threatens the implementation of the Agreement and damages the credibility of the HCUA as negotiating partner.