Mali — Terror Trial Begins, Row with France Continues

  • Fawaz Ould Ahmed, a Mauritanian citizen who is believed to have links with al-Qaeda, is accused of taking part in La Terrasse killings.
  • Two other suspects are also being tried for the same attacks.
  • The Malian Prime Minister has said that the country’s interim government is aimed at pursuing peace talks with armed groups.

Mali has begun trial for suspects accused of an attack on a luxury nightclub in Bamako. The two are said to be members of the Islamic State, an active militant group in the country. In March, a French citizen, a Belgian, and three Malians were killed in an attack at La Terrasse, a restaurant and a night club.

Malian soldiers on a patrol mission.

Gunmen sprayed bullets and tossed a grenade inside. In November, another attack on Radisson Blu hotel left 20 people dead, while 170 people were taken hostage.

Fawaz Ould Ahmed, a Mauritanian citizen who is believed to have links with al-Qaeda, is accused of taking part in La Terrasse killings and planning the attack on Radisson Blu hotel. Ahmed, who was arrested in 2016, was brought to court under very tight security.

Two other suspects are also being tried for the same attacks. However, it is not clear how long the trial will take, bearing in mind that it is a very rare case in the country.

Meanwhile, the Malian Prime Minister has said that the country’s interim government is aimed at pursuing peace talks with armed groups active in the country in an effort to end the decade-long conflict that has claimed dozens of lives. However, the French Foreign Minister, Jean Yves Le Drian, disagreed with the suggestion.

Defending his rejection, the FM said that the armed groups had not signed a 2015 peace deal that France considers the first step in restoring peace in the northern part of the country. The French Foreign Minister had visited the country with an aim of building trust with the new leaders.

The interim government was inaugurated last month, after the August 18 coup that saw the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Earlier in the month, four prisoners, including a 75 year-old French worker and a prominent politician, Soumaila Cisse, were released in a prison swap organized by the Malian government.

Soumaila Cisse, a prominent Malian politician who was released earlier in the month in a prison swap.

Mali has, over the years struggled to contain Islamic insurgency that has ripped through the country since it erupted in 2012. The violence has since claimed thousands of both military and civilian lives. The insurgency has spread to its neighbors, Niger and Burkina Faso.

According to the UN figures, about 4,000 people were killed in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso in 2019, while thousands of others were displaced. The countries are members of the French-backed G5 Sahel group, a taskforce created by the region’s leaders in 2014, which aims to fight militants.

Despite these efforts, the attacks are still on the rise. Two weeks ago, several soldiers were killed and others injured in two separate attacks in central part of the country. It is alleged that unidentified gunmen attacked Sokoura military base in Mopti region ,while another unit that had been sent to reinforce the operation fell into an ambush in Paroukou. No group claimed responsibility for the 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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