This research would not have been possible without the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the support of Marianne Peters, senior policy officer rule of law, was invaluable. We also greatly appreciated the support of Roelof Haveman, the first secretary for security and rule of law at the Dutch Embassy in Bamako.

We thank the Bamako-based Groupe Observation des Dynamiques Sociales Spatiales & Expertise Endogéne (Groupe ODDYSSEE), and especially their executive director, Amagoin Keita, and their scientific coordinator, Dr Brahima Fomba, for partnering with us to help hire, coordinate and support the researchers who carried out the interviews in the regions of Gao, Tombouctou and Mopti. Further, we also extend our deepest appreciation to those researchers — Mamadou Togola, Dr Bréma Ely Dicko, Mahamadou Doumma, Adizatou Diallo and Sane Chirfi Alpha — as well as the local fixers who assisted them.

We are grateful for the feedback on designing and carrying out this study from the participants of an expert workshop held in The Hague, an expert workshop hosted by Groupe ODDYSSEE in Bamako and in a meeting with the Bamako chapter of Réseau des Communicateurs Traditionnels (RECOTRADE). We thank Boukary Sangaré, a PhD candidate at Leiden University/African Studies Centre, and Daoulata Amadou Haidara, a Bamako-based lawyer and humanist, for their assistance in setting up the field research both at these workshops and beyond.

Finally, we thank Mariska van Beijnum, head of the Clingendael Conflict Research Unit (CRU), for her feedback during the preparation of this report.

Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.