- One of the poorest and least populated and developed regions of Mali. It is an autonomous region in the northeast of Mali, bordering on Algeria. It was created on 15 May 1991 following the 6 January 1991 agreement signed in Tamanrasset, Algeria, between Tuareg rebel groups and the government of Mali. Until 1991, Kidal was a cercle of the Gao region. Kidal covers 260,000 square kilometers and has a population of about 85,659, most of whom are Tuareg and Maure nomads. The cercle of Kidal proper has a population of about 11,000. It is located in the low-lying Adrar-n-Iforas Mountains. In the 1970s and 1980s, severe droughts forced many nomads to flee to Algeria, as the government of Mali did little to mitigate the devastating effects. Following the Tuareg Revolt of 1962, a large contingent of the Malian army was stationed in Kidal. During the 1960s, the commandant of the cercle was Captain Diby Silas Diarra, a ruthless and brutal army officer who executed at will those Tuareg he suspected of subversion. Both Presidents Moussa Traoré and Modido Keita committed grave human rights violations against the Tuareg and tried to drive them out of Mali to bordering countries. Tuareg livestock were also illegally confiscated by corrupt government and military authorities. Following the negotiations to end the Tuareg Revolt of 1990-1992, the Malian government accepted the creation of an autonomous region for the Tuareg, giving them significant local control in government and administration. During 1992 and 1993, subsequent to the National Pact, many Tuareg refugees in Algeria were repatriated to Kidal. Between 1960 and 1991, political prisoners were regularly sent to Kidal and also to the Taoudeni salt mine prison, which closed in 1988.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.