The military takeover occurred after mediation led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and an ECOWAS mission of heads of state failed to break the deadlock between Keïta and the Mouvement du 5 Juin – Rassemblement des Forces Républicaines (M5-RFP) coalition that led the anti-government demonstrations.Current trends suggest that popular protests will become even more regular in Africa’s contested socio-political space. With projections that COVID-19 will aggravate levels of poverty and unemployment, governments appearing to be underperforming while corruption remains rife will continue experiencing uprisings.Popular protests are a symptom of deeper governance deficits. Part of the solution lies in a holistic rather than selective application of African norms on democracy and good governance, which cannot solely rebuke unconstitutional changes of government while allowing other violations and excesses to flourish.Mali has entered a period of political uncertainty. The transition arrangements must be carefully negotiated to preserve some stability in the frail security apparatus that’s been fighting violent extremism. The success of this current transition will determine Mali’s future as a country.
French anti-jihadist troops in Mali killed a civilian Tuesday and injured two others after a bus refused to slow down in a volatile area despite their orders, the French army command said. The incident occurred about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the city of Gao in Mali’s troubled north.
The French soldiers fired warning shots in the ground but two bullets bounced off and hit the windscreen, wounding three people, including one fatally, the French army command said. “The seriously wounded person was evacuated by helicopter to the hospital of the (French) Barkhane force in Gao, but died of his injuries,” it said. “All steps have been taken to ascertain the exact sequence of events,” it said, expressing its “sincere condolences to the family of the deceased.”
Mali is now under the control of a junta which seized power in a putsch two weeks ago. Swathes of its territory are outside of the control of central authorities and years of fighting have failed to halt an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives since emerging in 2012.
Mali’s junta has named a new army chief of staff and appointed people to other key army and security posts, weeks after seizing power, according to decrees published Wednesday. General Oumar Diarra is named chief of the general staff of the armed forces in a decree dated September 1 and signed by the junta’s leader, Colonel Assimi Goita. He replaces General Abdoulaye Coulibaly at the head of an army which has lost hundreds of men in the last few years fighting jihadists, despite the support of French, international and UN troops.
Coulibaly is still being detained by the junta along with several other high-ranking and leading political figures arrested during the August 18 coup that overthrew president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Keïta is under house arrest, with limited access to the internet and telephone while being denied visitors, according to the former president’s entourage.
The new chief of staff is considered “an honest and rigorous” man, according to military sources. His main duty will be to “reform the Malian army and permit it to defend the country,” a junta official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The junta has also carried out a series of replacements in sensitive positions: Colonel Lassana Doumbia becomes director general of state security (intelligence, Colonel Jean Dao is now chief of staff of the national guard, which is part of the army, and General Souleymane Doucoure becomes secretary general of the Defence Ministry.
Swedish Special Forces Prepare to Deploy to Mali
The expansion of armed terrorist groups in the region is detrimental to peace, security and development. The task force is charged with counselling, supporting and escorting parts of the Malian army, as well as international partners, thereby supporting the efforts of ensuring more security in Mali and the Sahel.
The Swedish unit comprises some 150 staff with a variety of competences and skills, suitable for the nature of the task, that are ready to manage threats and risks.
“The primary purpose of Sweden’s participation in this mission is to enable the task force Takuba to enhance the work of the Malian security forces. Through our participation, Sweden is also assisting France, leader of Operation Barkhane, in a regional crisis management effort that is vital to Europe”, Brigadier General Anders Löfberg, head of Special Forces Command, says.
„Es ist legitim in der gesellschaftlichen Wahrnehmung vieler, dass man für mehr Demokratie einen Präsidenten wegputschen kann, auch wenn es nicht legal ist“, sagt die Mali-Expertin im DW-Interview. Sie sieht in der aktuellen Lage eine Chance.
Wer hat das Sagen in Mali?
Ob der jüngste Putsch positive Auswirkungen auf die Demokratie im Land hat, ist indes noch offen. Unmittelbar danach begannen Gespräche – als wichtigste Akteure verhandeln die Junta, das zivilgesellschaftliche Bündnis M5-RFP, und die westafrikanische Regionalgemeinschaft ECOWAS.
Auch bewaffnete Gruppen wie die „Plattform der Bewegungen des 14. Juni 2014 von Algier“ sind eingebunden – darunter sind ehemalige malische Rebellengruppen gebündelt, die in der algerischen Hauptstadt ein Friedensabkommen mit der malischen Regierung unterzeichnet hatten. Mohamed Ag Albachar, ein Sprecher des Bündnisses, sagte der DW: „Wir sind bereit den Übergang zu begleiten, damit wir Wahlen organisieren und die Verfassung einer Republik haben können.“
Nicht beteiligt sind terroristische Einheiten, die im Norden des Landes zum Teil Gebiete kontrollieren und unter dem Deckmantel des Islamismus Schmuggelrouten durch die Sahara offenhalten. Weder die malische Armee noch internationale Militäroperationen haben es geschafft, die seit dem Coup 2012 – der den nun geputschten Präsidenten IBK erst an die Staatsspitze brachte – fragile Region zu stabilisieren. Sie glaube nicht, dass sich der Konflikt im Norden „durch das Machtvakuum an der Staatsspitze notwendigerweise verstärkt“, sagt DIE-Expertin Leininger. Bereits vor dem Putsch hatte sich die Lage zugespitzt; 2019 war UN-Angaben zufolge mit rund 4000 getöteten Menschen das gewaltvollste Jahr in der jüngeren malischen Geschichte.
Mali coup leaders open transition talks in Bamako
Mali’s military government has begun talks with opposition groups on its promised transition to civilian rule after mounting pressure in recent weeks to yield power. […]
The talks in Bamako on Saturday were to be held under the military government chief, Assimi Goita, but he was not present, a military source told AFP news agency.
„Since August 18, we are charting a new history for our country,“ Malick Diaw, the military government’s number two, told the opening session.
Saturday’s summit was originally planned for last weekend but was called off at the last minute after a quarrel between the military and the June 5 Movement (M5-RFP), which spearheaded the protests that led to the toppling of Keita.
Less than an hour after the opening ceremony began, supporters of the M5-RFP coalition began to protest, accusing the military government of excluding them from most working groups.
Supporters of M5-RFP in the conference hall shouted down the moderator onstage, bringing proceedings to a halt.
„This smells rotten,“ Moussa Ouattara, an M5-RFP supporter, told AFP. „The CNSP is in all the groups but the M5-RFP is only in one group,“ he said, referring to the National Committee for the Salvation of the People.
The moderator later announced that the M5-RFP would be able to participate in all the working groups, which calmed the coalition’s supporters and allowed the event to resume.
The M5-RFP voiced enthusiastic support for the coup but sharply criticised the military government last week after it was not invited to preliminary consultations about the transition.
The talks, which are also being held in regional capitals across Mali, are scheduled to continue on Sunday and then resume again late next week. […]
Mali’s security situation deteriorated in the lead-up to the country’s fourth coup since it became an independent nation 60 years ago.
The ill-equipped army has the tough task of securing an area two-and-a-half times the size of France from different armed groups.
At least 10 Malian soldiers were killed in an overnight ambush in a central region near the Mauritanian border where armed groups are rampant, security and local sources said on Friday.
It was the third time Malian security forces have suffered heavy losses since the military took power.
EP-Briefing Paper: Understanding the EU Strategy for the Sahel
Mali, nach dem Putsch