Mali Opposition Set to Resume Protests

  • The opposition had rejected calls by West African leaders to have a unity government.
  • Two teams from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS have been in the country to try and bring together the warring factions.
  • The opposition has continued to blame the president for attacks by militants in the country.

Political tensions continue to soar in Mali as protesters are set to take to the streets once again. The leaders of the June 5 Movement have been urging citizens to return to the streets. The group had halted the demonstrations in honor of the three day Eid ul-Adha holiday that began on Friday last week.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, or as he is often known as IBK, is the incumbent President of Mali since 2013. Keïta is the founding father of a left-wing political party called Rally for Mali (RPM) in 2001.

The opposition had rejected calls by West African leaders to have a unity government, and has been calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s resignation.  Political tensions in the country began after the disputed legislative election that was held in March.

The opposition June 5 Movement has held a series of protests since. Last month, the protests claimed the lives of 13 people and left dozens others injured. The protests began in June with two demonstrations calling for Keita’s resignation saying that the president had failed to ensure peace in the country.

They also decried the economic status of the country, corruption, and wanted the Constitutional Court to be dissolved. Keita has led the country since 2013, when he took office after his predecessor, who had served for a decade, was overthrown in a coup. Keita secured his second five-year term in 2018.

Following the protests, two teams from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS have been in the country to try and bring together the warring factions. The opposition has refused to heed to their recommendations, arguing that they do not appeal to the group’s ideologies.

The opposition has continued to blame the president for attacks by militants in the country, accusing him of failing to put an end to them. The recent attacks prove a major challenge for the president in his effort to ensure calm in the country.

Two days ago, five soldiers were killed and five others wounded in two separate attacks. In one of the attacks, a military convoy was ambushed on its way to Diabaly village, and a military camp was hit by heavy artillery. The attacks were blamed on militants active in the country.

The Mali War, Northern Mali Conflict or Mali Civil War is a series of armed conflicts that started from January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa. Despite the signing of a peace accord in the capital on 15 April 2015, low-level fighting continues.

Deadly attacks on soldiers by the militants are a common occurrence in the country. On June 15, 24 soldiers were killed after an ambush was laid on a military convoy in central Mali around 100 kilometers from Mali’s border with Mauritania. In January, 19 soldiers were killed and five others were wounded in an attack at a military camp.

Mali has been struggling to fight an Islamic insurgency since it began in 2012, which has since claimed thousands of military and civilian lives. The violence in the country has since spread to its neighbors, Niger and Burkina Faso. The UN estimates that about 4,000 people were killed in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in 2019 and thousands others displaced.

The countries are also members of the French-backed G5 Sahel group, a taskforce created by the region’s leaders in 2014, which aims to fight militants. However, despite the creation and the presence of 4,500 French soldiers and more than 14,000 United Nations peacekeepers, as well as the national forces from the countries, the insurgents have continued to attack.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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