Tag Archives: Mali

EU: Mali National Assembly enables way out of crisis

Presidents from five West African countries arrive in Mali on July 23 in an attempt to negotiate an end to a political crisis that affected the country and raised concerns it could undermine a regional security, and ongoing struggle against jihadists armed groups.

Endemic corruption, disputed local election results and army losses to jihadists cause massive indignation of Malians, when tens of thousands have taken to the streets,  clashing with police. The episodes of urban violence caused death of protesters in July, according to the United Nations.

The opposition, a group called M5-RFP  led by Saudi-trained Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko, announced it will not quit until President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita steps down, raising concerns in neighboring countries of a protracted political crisis.

M5-RFP demands the resignation of Keita or the satisfaction of our demands,” which include the establishment of a committee of inquiry into civilian deaths and a transitional government, the spokesperson Nouhoum Togo told international reporters.

The leaders of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana and Niger will meet with Keita and then Dicko and other opposition leaders at a hotel in the capital Bamako, according to the mission schedule.

They are concerned of the danger a destabilisation of Mali poses to the entire region of Sahel,  plagued by activities of militia linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State attacking neighbouring countries including Niger and Burkina Faso.

Public opposition to Keita has changed to harder tones after protesters were killed by police in early July.

The M5-RFP rejected mediation measures proposed by a mission from the West African ECOWAS bloc last week.

The European diplomacy has issued a statement, supporting the African Union efforts to find a solution for the protracted political crisis:

“The good offices mission of President Goodluck Jonathan, at the head of an ECOWAS delegation in Bamako, made it possible to move forward towards a framework of concrete and politically balanced solutions.

“The European Union joins the African Union Declaration of July 21 and encourages all political actors and civil society to fully engage in the implementation of the recommendations of the ECOWAS mission. The re-establishment of a legitimate National Assembly and a Government of National Union will enable Mali to overcome the current crisis.

“The European Union deplores the large number of deaths and injuries following the demonstrations in Bamako on Friday July 10 and the following days. It offers its condolences to the relatives of the victims, calls for an investigation to be carried out as soon as possible and for legal proceedings to be taken against those responsible”.

Mali protestors occupy state buildigs

Mali’s opposition coalition members indicates that the security forces had raided their headquarters on Saturday July 11 in the wake of violent protests against the President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Social media Twitter and Facebook were restricted on Friday Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks said, and further the internet availability remained sporadic.

Police fired gunshots and tear gas to disperse protesters on Friday, July 10, in attempt to remove them from occupied parliament building and the state broadcaster as part of a civil disobedience campaign aimed at forcing President to resign for failing to resolve deteriorating security situation and economic hardships. 

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Security forces focused on the headquarters of CMAS, an opposition movement led by influential Muslim cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko that is part of the M5-RFP opposition coalition.

“While our activists were in a meeting, they came and attacked and ransacked our headquarters,” M5-RFP spokesman Nouhoum Togo said. 

One protest leader, Issa Kaou Djim, has been detained and remains in custody, Togo said earlier. 

However, I would like to reassure our people once again of my desire to continue idialogue and reiterate my readiness to take all measures in my power with a view to calm the situation down,” he said late on Friday. 

The streets of Bamako appeared largely quiet following the protest. State television ORTM resumed broadcasting after going off air during the interference of the protestors.

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However there is a general recommendation to avoid travelling during the weekend.

France calls for Mali opposition leader release

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on July 8 called for the release of Malian opposition leader Soumaila Cisse (pictured), who has been held hostage by suspected Islamist militants since March.

“France expresses its outrage over Mr Soumaila Cisse’s situation. He is the opposition leader, he was candidate in the presidential election and he was taken hostage three months ago and we are strongly calling for his release,” Le Drian told the National Assembly when asked about Cisse.

Cisse and several members of his delegation were ambushed by unidentified gunmen in March on the campaign trail in the northern region of Timbuktu. His bodyguard was killed and two others wounded, Cisse’s Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) said at the time.

Militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State stage frequent attacks on civilian and military targets in the area, but there was no claim of responsibility and no request for ransom has been received.

France, the former colonial ruler, has troops in Mali to counter the jihadist threat.

Cisse, 70, is Mali’s leading opposition figure and was finance minister from 1993 to 2000. He lost the 2013 and 2018 elections to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mali’s government has said the military is trying to find the hostages. Mali has been in political turmoil since the disputed election in March.

Mali: Dogon village attacked

Nine soldiers have been killed in an ambush in the centre of Mali as they advancing on their way to the site of a massacre of villagers, an army official said.

The latest attack took place at the entrance to Gouari, where armed men entered and killed about 30 civilians the day before.

A military unit was immediatley dispatched to the site to help bury the 31 bodies, army spokesman Colonel Diarran Kone told AFP news agency.

On July 2 the army received information about a new attack and sent the unit to Gouari, the offical explained.

“When it arrived at around 8pm, the village seemed deserted, there were practically no signs of life,” he continuedr. “Just at the entrance, the FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) walked into an ambush,” he said, without naming who might be behind the attack.

“We regret that nine died and two were injured, and equipment was also destroyed.”

G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott

President Emmanuel Macron will travel to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Juin 30 for a Summit of West African leaders to discuss the ongoing combat operations against Islamists in the Sahel region, Elysee Palace office said last week.

French President intends to request Mali and Burkina Faso for guarantees on their commitments in favor of peace, so as not to jeopardize the military gains recently acquired on the ground, said a source at the Elysée on Juin 29.

“All the progress recorded is fragile and can be jeopardized if the political dynamic is not suitable,” he continued.

The Prime Minister of Sapin Pedro Sanchez and the French Head of State Emmanuel Macron are due to make their first trip to Africa in person on Juin 30 since the coronavirus pandemic.

The G5 force operates with the over 5,000-strong French Barkhane force which has been deployed in the Sahel for the last seven years but has encountered increasing resistance from the Islamists, desiring to restore the historic Chaliphate of Sokoto.

The meeting in Mauritania comes six months after a Summit in Pau, France, where the leaders vowed to strengthen the efforts to defeat the jihad in Sahel.

After the Nouakchott meeting, the six leaders will hold video talks with other key players including European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a French presidential official.

The other European leaders the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the Italian Council Giuseppe Conte will participate in this summit only by videoconference. Five G5 Sahel heads of state and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guiterres, and the president of the EU Council Charles Michel will join by teleconference.

Political criis in Mail has agrravated the situation in Sahel, and caused concern of the European Union, one of the major humanitarian sponsors of the region. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has warned about the risk of a protracted poliitical crisis for the security and stablitiy of the region.

Borrell on Mali stability risks

“The political crisis which has been shaking Mali for several weeks is carrying risks for the stability of the country and the region” reads the statement of the Euorpean Union top diplomat Josep Borrell.


“The European Union welcomes the peaceful nature of the protests and the willingness of all political actors to maintain the dialogue in order to reach a broad consensus on the future of Mali.

“The European Union fully supports the good offices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which dispatched a high-level mission to the country, as well as the proposals to end the crisis contained in its press release. press of June 19.
“The European Union joins the United Nations and the African Union in calling on all actors to dialogue and restraint. We encourage the authorities to quickly take decisions that will make it possible to overcome the crisis, in particular on post-electoral disputes”.
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Borrell reacts on Mali killings

“Several killings took place in central Mali between June 3 and 5. More than 40 people were killed, including women and children. Serious suspicion hangs over the possible involvement of the Mali Armed Forces” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement, reacting upon allegations, including charges that Malian soldiers killed 43 people during attacks on two villages last week.

“The European Union wishes to express its indignation and deep concern at what constitute clear human rights violations. The European Union encourages the Government of Mali to complete the investigations which have been opened, to create the conditions necessary for the exact circumstances of these attacks to be established, for justice to be done and to fight against the impunity of those who would be guilty of such acts, whatever they are”.

“The European Union is fully mobilized alongside the states of the region for stability, development and security in the Sahel. Our commitment is conditioned and based on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law which are essential principles of our action. Nothing can justify abuses that will only strengthen the very people we fight”.

Security forces in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have been accused of unlawfully killing or causing the disappearance of around 200 people. Amnesty said this could constitute war crimes.

The deliberate killings of unarmed civilians by security forces in Mali and Burkina Faso may constitute war crimes under international law and should be thoroughly investigated,” said Amnesty.
There have been multiple accusations of human rights abuses against the forces, which they have either denied, or promised to investigate in the future. The issue was also debated by the UN Security Council on June 5.

Image: illustration

Islamist warlord killed in Mali

Al-Qaeda warlord in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, is pronounced dead by French authorites after an operation in Mali.

Defence Minister Florence Parly said Droukdel along with members of his inner circle were neutralised in the north of the country on June 3.

French forces had also captured a senior Islamic State group commander in Mali in anther operation in May, she said.

The Minister described actions as “daring operations” had dealt “severe blows to the terrorist groups”.

Droukdel was in charge of all the al-Qaeda affiliates in north Africa and also commanded al-Qaeda’s Sahel affiliate, Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), which has been active in the north of Mali and Burkina Faso.

The captured Islamic State group commander, Mohamed Mrabat, was a jihadist was a long recored and had a senior role in the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group, she said.

ISGS has been active in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Barkhane: EU reiterates support to Sahel

“… French contribution is making overarching contribution in the region” of Sahel said the EU spokesperson, while expressing condolences to families of two slain French soldiers in Mali recently in course of the counter-terrorist operation in the region of three borders.

“We have seen in Sahel the continuous deteriorating in the situation with the terrorist attacks on the daily basis targeting both military and civilians” she continued.

The European Union member-states are heavily mobilised in the Sahel with the commitment of more than €4,5 bn for 2014-2020 period.

The EU reiterates its strong commitment to the Sahel, and personally the High Representative Josep Borrell who has paid tribute to fallen soldiers defeating terrorism in Sahel. The EU continues to pursue contributing to the Security and Stability of the Sahel region, plagued by different militant groups, claiming their affiliation to the Islamic State terrorists.

Slain soldier Kevin Clément belonged to the 1st foreign cavalry regiment of Carpiagne (Bouches-du-Rhône). His death in Liptako on April 4 rises to 43 the number of French soldiers killed in the Sahel since the start of the operation in 2013, according to a count made from figures published by the general staff.

Barkhane: French soldier killed in Mali

French soldier Kévin Clément, 21, belonged to the 1st foreign regiment of cavalry of Carpiagne (Bouches-du-Rhône) engaged in Sahel since February within the Barkhane force, died in combat in Liptako, Mali, in the morning on May 4, during a “sweeping action against armed terrorist groups” in the area known as “three borders“.

The press release from the CEMA services specifies that two jihadists were “neutralised“, but that the first class legionnaire Kévin Clément, boarded in a light armored vehicle, was seriously wounded by enemy fire.

His death was declared later at the surgical unit in Gao, Mali, despite immediate care by the medical team of his unit. AFP reported he succumbed to the head injury.

During this combat operation, 1st class Kévin Clément, boarded in a light armored vehicle, was seriously injured by enemy fire. Immediately taken in charge by the medical team deployed within the unit, he was evacuated by helicopter towards the surgical unit in Gao, where his death was announced in the official press release.

A Reaper drone was immediately engaged to contribute to securing the unit, and revealed that the tactical sub-group had been engaged in a combat encounter with isolated terrorist elements.

In a press release, Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces, underlined that “the legionnaire Clément joins in the ultimate sacrifice his comrade Brigadier Dmytro Martynyouk, who died on May 1. This heavy tribute paid by the Foreign Legion does not undermine its determination or its effectiveness… ”

The Ministry of the Armed Forces, and in particular the Army, are alongside the family of 1st class legionnaire Kévin Clément and all the soldiers of Operation Barkhane” added the official press release.

The Minister of the Armed Forces bowed to the engagement of the 1st class legionnaire Kévin Clément who served France until the end of his mission,” With honor and loyalty “as the motto of the Foreign Legion so aptly puts it” wrote Florence Parly. “France never forgets any of those who chose it and fought for her,” said the ministerial press release.

In recent weeks, the French army has multiplied the offensives in this region of the Sahel, claiming the “neutralization” of several dozen jihadists in total since the beginning of the year. Barkhane’s workforce has recently increased from 4,500 to 5,100 soldiers. Paris hopes that this reinforcement will make it possible to reverse the balance of forces on the ground, where jihadist groups have multiplied the attacks in recent months.

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