After the bloody unrest in the capital Bamako, the entire region now wants to take diplomatic action. The crisis should not escalate further.
In Mali, the mood remains tense days after the weekend protests, which killed at least eleven people in the capital Bamako. The arrested opposition politicians are free again and, as initially planned, no new protests will be launched next Friday about the Independence Square. However, according to Malian media, CMAS, the movement of the charismatic imam Mahmoud Dicko, announced that the victims of the last day of the protest should be remembered in mosques and churches.
CMAS is the most influential part of the M5-RFP protest alliance (June 5 Movement – Association of Patriotic Forces), which has been calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s resignation with Friday demonstrations since early June.
The waiver of new protests may be related to a new international attempt at dialogue. On Wednesday afternoon, Nigeria’s ex-president Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Bamako to hold talks on behalf of the Ecowas (West African Economic Community) regional organization. President Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé are said to have already met the Ecowas delegation.
Ironically, Goodluck Jonathan: The Nigerian was head of state of his country from 2010, but lost re-election in 2015 against the current incumbent Muhammadu Buhari. One reason for this was his extremely poor crisis management regarding the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram. The year before the election in Nigeria, she had succeeded in abducting thousands of people – including the Chibok students – and occupying large areas. The group also carried out several attacks in the capital, Abuja. Only when Buhari became president could Boko Haram be pushed back.
The posting of Jonathan to Mali shows that West Africa is now concerned about the political crisis there overall. Pierre Buyoya, former President of Burundi and currently Special Representative of the African Union (AU) for Mali and the Sahel, emphasized in a video conference on Thursday afternoon: “We have to bring the parties together.” Mali was the epicenter for the crisis in the Sahel. If the country were further destabilized, it would be a great danger for the entire region. For this reason, the M5-RFP opposition alliance’s call for a transitional government in Mali is not a solution. According to Buyoya, that would mean the overthrow of elected representatives.
Mali already experienced this in 2012, when the military putsch against the elected president and then a transitional government emerged with international mediation. During this time, Islamist terror intensified and the return to democratic conditions was extremely difficult and laborious.