US to Mali: End restrictions on UN peacekeepers, seek peace
The United States is warning Mali’s military government that it would be “irresponsible” for the United Nations to continue deploying its more than 15,000 peacekeepers unless it ends restrictions including on operating reconnaissance drones.
UN Security Council mission visits Mali, urges February vote
A U.N. Security Council mission that is visiting Mali this weekend to assess the security situation is urging the country’s authorities to set elections for February to meet agreements reached with a West African regional bloc after a coup last year.
Burkina Faso moves ahead with vote despite extremist attacks
Supporters of Burkina Faso President Roch Kabore attend a campaign rally in Bobo-Dioulasso Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. Burkina Faso will go to the polls on Nov. 22, 2020, to vote in presidential and legislative elections marred by ongoing violence. Burkina Faso will go to the polls on Nov. 22 to vote in presidential and legislative elections marred by ongoing violence. This month’s vote is only Burkina Faso’s second democratically held election since gaining independence from France in 1960. “The stakes are high in a way, because of (Burkina Faso’s) severe problems and the importance of consolidating democracy,” said Alex Thurston, assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati in the United States.
Mali: 3 European hostages, 1 Malian politician freed
A prominent Malian politician and three European hostages freed by Islamic extremists in northern Mali this week landed in the country's capital late Thursday where they held emotional reunions with family members and were greeted by government officials. (Mali Presidency via AP)BAMAKO – A prominent Malian politician and three European hostages freed by Islamic extremists in northern Mali this week landed in the country's capital late Thursday where they held emotional reunions with family members and were greeted by government officials. Three-time Malian presidential candidate Soumaila Cisse descended next in a flowing white robe and turban, embracing first his wife and then his son. All four released hostages were then brought to a late night reception at Mali's presidential palace where they met with dignitaries. The hostages’ release came just days after Malian authorities freed nearly 200 jihadist prisoners over the weekend, which had fueled speculation that a prisoner exchange was imminent.
Families await freed hostages' return in Mali's capital
Islamic extremists have freed prominent Malian politician Soumaila Cisse after holding him hostage for more than six months along with a French aid worker who was kidnapped back in 2016, an official said Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. Family members of Soumaila Cisse and Sophie Petronin still were awaiting details of a reunion in the capital, Bamako, nearly 24 hours after first hearing word of their freedom. A total of nine Western hostages seized from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are believed to remain in the hands of various jihadist groups. “We are here today to wait for our president (Cisse), the hope of the new Mali, Soumaila Cisse," said Ousmane Doumbia in Bamako. "All us here, we want Soumaila Cisse to come.
Relatives: French woman, Mali politician freed by jihadists
Islamic extremists have freed prominent Malian politician Soumaila Cisse after holding him hostage for more than six months along with a French aid worker who was kidnapped back in 2016, an official said Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. An official with Soumaila Cisse's political party told The Associated Press that the parliament member's relatives had been informed of his release along with that of aid worker Sophie Petronin. In December 2016, militants seized Petronin from the city of Gao, where she was helping orphans as an aid worker. She appeared 18 months later in a video released on Telegram by the al-Qaida-linked group known as JNIM. She was last seen in the video released in 2018.
Mali transitional government appoints new prime minister
Mali's transitional president Bah N'Daw on Sunday, Sept, 27, 2020 appointed former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, as the West African nation's prime minister, with the appointment of a civilian prime minister being a major condition imposed by the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, on Mali to lift sanctions that were imposed after an Aug. 18 coup. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)BAMAKO – Mali’s transitional president appointed former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, on Sunday as the West African nation’s prime minister days after being sworn into office. The appointment of a civilian prime minister was a major condition imposed by the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, on Mali to lift sanctions that were imposed after an Aug. 18 coup. He also served as Mali’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002 and later as a diplomatic adviser to ECOWAS. The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, deposed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August, detaining him, the prime minister and other government officials.
Mali swears in transitional president and vice president
Former Defense Minister and retired Col. Maj. Bah N'Daw, right, is sworn into the office of transitional president, and Col. Assimi Goita, left, head of the junta that staged the Aug. 18 coup, is sworn into the office of transitional vice president, at a ceremony in the capital Bamako, Mali, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. Mali's transitional president and vice president were sworn into office Friday, more than a month after a coup in the West African nation, as Mali remains under sanctions by the 15-nation West African regional bloc ECOWAS, and amid uncertainty about details of the transition period. (AP Photo)BAMAKO – Mali’s transitional president and vice president were sworn into office Friday, more than a month after a coup in the West African nation. Former Defense Minister and retired Col. Maj. Bah N’Daw is the new transitional president while Col. Assimi Goita, head of the junta that staged the Aug. 18 coup, is Mali’s new vice president. They refused to back the transitional charter earlier this month and didn’t take part in discussions to name the transitional president.
West African leaders urge civilian rule in Mali within days
People hold a banner showing Col. Assimi Goita, leader of the junta which is now running Mali and calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, outside a conference in Bamako, Mali, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Leaders of Mali's military junta who deposed the West African country's president last month are meeting with political parties and civil society groups to outline a transition to a civilian government and, ultimately, elections.
West African leaders urge civilian rule in Mali within days
(AP Photo)ABURI – West African leaders have emphasized that Mali’s junta should nominate civilian transitional leaders within days to lead the nation toward elections, Ghana’s president said following a regional summit. Six leaders from the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, met with Mali's junta Tuesday in Ghana, whose president now serves as the bloc’s new chairman. They agreed the junta must install a civilian president and vice president. ECOWAS insisted that the transitional leaders must be civilians, rejecting the junta’s suggestion that the leaders could come from the military. Those sanctions could be lifted once a transitional civilian government is in place, it said in its Tuesday statement.
Mali's former president Moussa Traore dies at 83
BAMAKO – Mali’s former president Moussa Traore, who ruled the West Africa nation for more than 22 years, has died at age 83, according to his son Idrissa Traore. Traore seized power in a military coup in 1968, eight years after Mali gained independence from France, and amid growing discontent with then-president Modibo Keita, the country's first president. Traore and other officers set up the Military Committee for National Liberation, abolished the constitution and established a regime. Traore ruled the country as its military leader until 1979 when he installed himself as civilian president of a one-party state. On Tuesday, the military junta currently ruling Mali met with a group of West African leaders in Ghana to outline a transition to civilian rule.
Mali junta faces deadline for naming civilian leader
ABURI – Mali's military rulers face a regional deadline for naming a civilian interim leader Tuesday, as the junta meet with West Africa leaders who maintain that new elections must be held within a year. The 15-nation regional bloc known as ECOWAS had issued the ultimatum to Mali's military leaders after they initially proposed remaining in power for three more years. However, the political opposition made clear it would accept nothing short of his ouster, and mutinous soldiers capitalized on Keita's unpopularity when they launched the Aug. 18 coup. Deep divisions have emerged in the weeks since between the opposition coalition and the junta leaders. Over the weekend, the opposition publicly criticized the junta for saying that the country's interim leader didn't have to be a civilian.
Mali opposition opposes junta proposal on transition period
(AP Photo)BAMAKO – Divisions deepened between Mali's military coup leaders and the country's political opposition movement on Sunday after the ruling junta announced a plan that would allow a military leader to oversee an 18-month transitional period. The junta proposed that the transition be led by either a military or civilian leader, which leaves open the possibility that the military officers who seized power could remain at the helm for another 18 months until elections are organized. The 15-nation West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS has warned that by Tuesday the junta must designate a civilian leader to head a one-year transition period or else the country could face further sanctions. ECOWAS has already stopped financial transfers into the country and has closed its borders with Mali. Junta leader Col. Assimi Goita said he hoped for the support of the international community after the military leaders agreed to reduce the transition period to 18 months after initially proposing three years.
Leaders in Mali meet with junta for conference on transition
Leaders of Mali's military junta who deposed the West African country's president last month are meeting with political parties and civil society groups to outline a transition to a civilian government and, ultimately, elections. (AP Photo)BAMAKO Leaders of Mali's military junta who deposed the West African country's president last month are meeting with political parties and civil society groups to outline a transition to a civilian government and, ultimately, elections. I would like to renew our willingness to participate in the establishment of the architecture of the transition, Col. Assimi Goita, the head of Mali's junta, said to open the meetings. The West African regional bloc, known as ECOWAS, has said that by Sept. 15 the junta should have installed transitional civilian leaders, a president and prime minister, who will lead the country to elections within one year. The military junta had previously proposed a three-year transition, saying that a new constitution should be written first.
W. Africa bloc presses Mali junta to hand power to civilians
The latest talks on the Mali crisis came after the 15-nation regional bloc known as ECOWAS met in neighboring Niger and tapped Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo as its new chairman. However, the military junta already says it wants to rewrite the country's constitution first, proposing instead a three-year transition with an election in 2023. ECOWAS, backed by former colonial power France, has said that is out of the question. West African leaders fear that protracted political chaos could further destabilize Mali, which has been battling an Islamic insurgency with international help since 2013. The jihadists though have regrouped in the surrounding rural areas, and have continued to launch scores of attacks on U.N. peacekeepers and the Malian military.
Deposed president evacuated from Mali for medical treatment
BAMAKO Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Malian president ousted by a military coup in August, was evacuated late Saturday to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment, a diplomat said. The 75-year-olds health has been in question since he was hospitalized following his detention for 10 days by the military junta now in power. Keita had been moved to his residence earlier this week after hospitalization at a private clinic under the tight security of the junta. Leaders of the junta had said they were open to whatever treatment he needed to get, even if in another country. The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, is now running Mali under the leadership of Col. Assimi Goita.
Ex-Malian president Keita hospitalized at private clinic
BAMAKO Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Malian president ousted in a military coup last month, was hospitalized late Tuesday at a private clinic, intensifying fears about the 75-year-old's health after being detained for 10 days by the junta now in power. A mediation delegation led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with Keita while he was in military custody, and they later told journalists that Keita did not want to try to return to power. A relative told AP that Keita had been unable to see his personal doctor. Even with his release, ECOWAS has continued to press for a return to civilian rule within one year. More than seven years on, peacekeepers and soldiers still come under frequent attacks from the jihadists, and the instability undermined Keitas popularity as president.
France: Mali junta's timeline 'out of the question'
On Friday, imam and opposition leader Mahmoud Dicko publicly urged the junta leaders to meet the demands of regional mediators in order to spare Mali further crippling financial sanctions. "Terrorists feed on the weakness of states.A similar military coup in Mali in 2012 unleashed political upheaval that was exploited by Islamic extremists in the country's north. Many fear that further political instability could unravel more than seven years of effort by France and the international community to stabilize the country. Early Sunday, Mali's opposition alliance known as M5-RFP said it had put forth its own plan to the junta, but no details were given about their suggested time frame. Coalition spokesman Issa Kaou Djim later said they had cleared up the misunderstanding with junta leaders.
West Africa leaders want Mali junta to leave power in a year
West African leaders on Friday urged Mali's junta to take no more than one year to hand over power to a civilian government, as regional heads of state held another virtual summit after initial negotiations with the military coup leaders failed. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)BAMAKO West African leaders on Friday urged Mali's junta to take no more than one year to hand over power to a civilian government, as regional heads of state held another virtual summit after initial negotiations with the military coup leaders failed. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who participated in the summit, urged the junta to heed the bloc's calls. Neighboring countries have shut their borders and other sanctions have been threatened in a bid to force the junta leaders to capitulate. Nigeria's president said Mali's ruling junta must immediately release all other senior government officials still being detained.
Mali's deposed president returns home under tight security
(AP Photo)BAMAKO Former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita returned home Thursday after being detained for 10 days by the ruling military junta that staged a coup last week, a family member said. It could be a signal that Malis ruling junta, which wants ECOWAS to lift sanctions, are trying to meet some of the bloc's demands. The ECOWAS negotiating team met with Keita during their visit to Malis capital last week. Malis junta has proposed staying in power for three years until Malis next election until 2023. On Thursday, Mali's military said four soldiers were killed and 12 others wounded in an ambush on an anti-poaching unit by insurgents in central Mali.
Group of French-speaking countries suspends Mali after coup
PARIS Mali has been suspended from a global body of French-speaking countries after a military junta overthrew the West African country's democratically elected president. The permanent council of the International Organization of Francophonie decided on the suspension after holding an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Mali. The decision by the French-speaking body follows the suspension of Mali from the 15-nation West African regional bloc ECOWAS. It held unsuccessful talks with the military junta in an attempt to get it to agree to immediately return Mali to civilian rule. While the international community has been pressing for a quick return to civilian rule, the military junta now running Mali is seeking to prolong its rule until 2023.
French troops stay in Mali after coup, no end in sight
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2019 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the president of Mali the country at the center of the battle against Islamist extremists was ousted last week in a coup detat. Operation Barkhane ... continues, French Defense Minister Florence Parly tweeted last week, after the bloodless coup in Mali by a clutch of military officers who detained Keita and his prime minister. France has 600 million euros ($708 million) in aid projects underway in Mali alone, according to the French Development Agency official in charge of Mali, Nicolas Mora. The French goal is to stabilize Mali and then allow troops of the region to take over.
Mali junta insists president did not resign under duress
(AP Photo)BAMAKO The military junta now in charge of Mali insisted Monday that former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita had resigned of his own free will and was not overthrown, as the officers now running the country try to prolong their rule until 2023. The junta's spokesman, Ismael Wague, later said that no timeline had been established for elections to return to the country to civilian rule. President Keita told us that he has resigned, that he was not forced to do so and that he does not want to return," said former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday. The ECOWAS mediators initially had called for Keita to be reinstalled as president, but that prospect has become unlikely amid an outpouring of public support in Mali for the coup d'etat. He offered concessions and regional mediators intervened, but his opponents made it clear they would accept nothing short of his departure.
Mali army Col. Assimi Goita says he's in charge of junta
(AP Photo)BAMAKO A colonel in Mali's army says he's now in charge of the West African country, declaring himself chairman of the junta that forced the democratically elected but unpopular president to resign. Col. Assimi Goita, one of the five military officers who announced this week's coup on the state broadcaster ORTM, declared himself chairman of the junta now in power. Observers fear the political upheaval will allow Islamic extremists in Mali to expand their reach. Former colonizer France, which maintains strong economic and political ties to Mali, later led a military intervention to oust them from power in 2013. Goita, the new strongman, had been head of a special military unit based in central Mali.
A look at how Mali's coup may affect neighboring countries
A number of elections are set to be held later this year involving incumbents, including in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger. The two countries are both part of the G5 Sahel regional force along with Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso which is trying to battle extremists across the Sahel. Burkina Faso was long spared the kind of extremist violence seen across the border, but that has changed. Coupcast, a project of One Earth Future using historical data to predict the likelihood of a coup attempt, put Burkina Faso in the top 10 African countries likely to see a coup in last year's report. Coupcast also put Niger in the top 10 African countries likely to see a coup in their 2019 report.
Mali soldiers behind coup take to airwaves, promise handover
A man wears a national flag as he celebrates with others in the streets in the capital Bamako, Mali Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Mutinous soldiers detained Mali's president and prime minister Tuesday after surrounding a residence and firing into the air in an apparent coup attempt after several months of demonstrations calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's ouster. (AP Photo)BAMAKO The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover condemned by the international community. In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers behind Tuesday's military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Col. Maj. Ismael Wagu. The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission.
Mali's president dissolves court as demanded by protesters
Anti-government protesters burn tires and barricade roads in the capital Bamako, Mali, Friday, July 10, 2020. Thousands marched Friday in Mali's capital in anti-government demonstrations urged by an opposition group that rejects the president's promises of reforms. We must go beyond ourselves and only consider Mali, the president said in a televised address late Saturday. The president, who was elected in 2013, already had promised last week that he would dissolve the court, one of the key demands made by the protesters. Thousands of protesters had marched through the streets of Bamako, the capital, on Friday, briefly occupying the state television offices.
Mali protests in 2nd day despite president's call for talks
Anti-government protesters burn tires and barricade roads in the capital Bamako, Mali, Friday, July 10, 2020. Thousands marched Friday in Mali's capital in anti-government demonstrations urged by an opposition group that rejects the president's promises of reforms. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)BAMAKO Police fired tear gas Saturday in Malis capital as scattered groups came out for a second straight day of anti-government protests, defying the president's latest call for dialogue. The anti-government movement still wants the National Assembly dissolved. Its name, the June 5 Movement, or M5, reflects the day demonstrators first took to the streets en masse.
Mali leader promises court changes in bid to quell protests
The court is at the heart of the growing political dispute because it declared official results after legislative elections were held in April. Several dozen candidates maintain the court's official results differed from polling station tallies. Keita, who is due to step down in 2023, became president the year after Malis president of a decade was overthrown in a coup. That crisis created a power vacuum that allowed the Islamic insurgency to take hold in Mali's north. The coup leader later handed over power to a civilian transitional government but only after international pressure to do so.
Thousands in Mali's capital demand that president step down
Demonstrators hold a placard in French reading "This regime is a coronavirus for Mali" as they protest in the capital Bamako, Mali Friday, June 5, 2020. Thousands of people demonstrated in Mali's capital on Friday to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the release of opposition leader Soumaila Ciss, and denounce corruption, arbitrary arrests and the organisation of April's legislative elections. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)BAMAKO BAMAKO, MaliThousands of people demonstrated in Mali's capital on Friday to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. They also called for the release of opposition leader Soumaila Ciss, who was kidnapped by armed men in March while campaigning for the elections. Mali has been in turmoil since a 2012 uprising prompted mutinous soldiers to overthrow the president of a decade.