Mali is currently undergoing massive civil unrest as citizens are demanding that the country’s President steps down. The protesters have been triggered by the long period of conflict, economic instability and perceived government corruption.
The country’s Prime Minister (PM) in responding to the ongoing protests is reported to have said that the government will rapidly reform so as to be able to face the challenges of the day.
There was violent protests in the Malian capital of Bamako as citizens demanded that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita leaves office due to his inability to competently steer the affairs of state.
“The president and I remain open to dialogue. I will very quickly set up an executive with the intention of being open to facing the challenges of the day,” PM Cisse said while visiting a hospital.
The demonstrators have attacked some national buildings like parliament and also attacked some state assets, one of which is the national television station.
The reports were initially that two people had been killed in the violence and dozens wounded, but on Saturday Cisse said four people had died.
Cisse who has been Prime Minister since last year was reappointed on June 11 by President Keita after Parliamentary elections in April. And months after the election, Mali still has no substantive government in place.
Keita in attempt to maintain his hold on power has increasingly tried to appease a newly formed opposition movement and indicating that he is open to forming a national unity government. The opposition has however rejected his overtures whiles insisting that he steps down.
Attack on Opposition Headquarters
Malian security forces on Saturday attacked the headquarters of CMAS, an opposition movement which is led by influential Muslim leader Imam Mahmoud Dicko. The CMAS forms a part of the larger M5-RFP opposition coalition.
“While our activists were in a meeting, they came and attacked and ransacked our headquarters,” M5-RFP spokesman Nouhoum Togo said.
Togo adds that a protest leader by name Issa Kaou Djim was also arrested during the security forces invasion, and that he still remains in custody.
There was no immediate comment from police.
Neighbouring countries and other international observers are worried that the continued impasse could further destabilise the country and jeopardise a joint military campaign against armed groups in the West African Sahel region.
Calmness has returned to the streets of Bamako as at this morning and the National television channel ORTM resumed broadcasting after going off air when its building was occupied by protesters.
The government restricted the use of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook on Friday during the heat of the protests, this is according to internet blockage observatory, NetBlocks. Internet access remained patchy on Saturday.
Embattled President, Keita, issued a statement deploring the violence and said an investigation would be launched.
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