(HRW) – The Malian government should act to curtail rising violent crime and abuses by armed groups and state security forces that threaten the security of the population in northern and central Mali, Human Rights Watch said today. Two years after a French-led military intervention in the embattled country, there remains widespread lawlessness and insecurity. In the north, a brief renewal of fighting in mid-2014 provoked the withdrawal of Malian soldiers and civil servants, including judicial officers. This left large swaths of territory devoid of state authority in which Tuareg separatists, Islamist armed groups, pro-government militias, and bandits have committed abuses with impunity. Since January 2015, a new Islamist armed group has committed a spate of attacks against civilians in central Mali.