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Background

  • In the years following its independence from France in 1960, Mali was viewed as having achieved a good track record in democratic government.
  • In 1996, a New York Times correspondent on a reporting trip to Mali made note of the pervasive poverty afflicting the citizenry,
  • But said the West African country nevertheless had become “one of this continent’s most vibrant democracies.”
  • But Mali, once cited as a democratic role model in the region, has lurched from one crisis to another since the 2012 coup.
  • The coup overthrew President Amadou Touré a month before elections were to be held.

Reason for the coup?

  • The factors behind that coup, in part a consequence of the Arab Spring.
  • After the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya in 2011, hundreds of heavily armed Malian rebels who had fought for the Libyan leader returned home and attacked northern towns,
  • Creating the chaos that preceded the military takeover.

  • In 2012, Ethnic Tuareg separatists in northern Mali declared independence and launched an offensive to take control of territory they claimed as part of their new country.
  • For a time, they joined forces with hard-core Jihadi groups and succeeded in evicting government forces from large swaths of northern Mali, including the city of Timbuktu.

French intervention

  • The Malian government asked for international assistance.
  • The French military intervened directly on their behalf, beating back the Jihadist insurgency.
  • Meanwhile, a UN Peacekeeping force, now known as MINUSMA, deployed to stabilize areas that were formerly controlled by insurgents.
  • In 2015, a peace agreement negotiated between PresidentIbrahim Boubacar Keita and key armed groups affiliated with the Tuareg separatists ushered in a new constitutional order.
  • Since then, the country has nevertheless been beset by instability.
  • It is, for example, the deadliest UN peacekeeping mission–by far.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

  • Keïta, the president arrested in Tuesday’s coup, won office in a landslide in 2013.
  • But whatever hopes Keita raised when he took 78 per cent of the vote, his star, and his genuine popularity, gradually faded.
  • He vowed “zero tolerance” for corruption, but Malians came to view him with mistrust.
  • Keita won reelection in 2018, when he ran for a second term, but only after being forced into a runoff.

Then why sudden protests recently?

  • An opposition coalition known as the June 5 Movement, led by prominent cleric Mahmoud Dicko, is calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,
  • In the wake of the country’s April parliamentary elections.
  • The protests were spurred by a Constitutional Court decision to overturn some of the election results, which the opposition says unfairly helped members of Keita’s party remain in office.
  • Keita refused to step down, but he had been without a government since April, when his prime minister and the rest of his government resignedamid an intensification of the civil war.
  • Keita formed a new cabinet in late July in an attempt to get a handle on the crisis.

 

  • National Committee for the Salvation of the People

 

 

 

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