Malian anti-government protests expected today

Malian Sunni imam Mahmoud Dicko, who has been gaining popularity in the country, has called for a mobilisation today to

Mali Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Malian Sunni imam Mahmoud Dicko, who has been gaining popularity in the country, has called for a mobilisation today to peacefully advocate for the departure of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

Despite the threat of COVID-19, he urged Malians to protest national insecurity caused by rebel groups, corruption and the loss of control of the Kidal region. The call was classified by the constitutional court as “insurrectional” and a direct defiance of Keïta.

Mali has been locked in civil conflict since 2012 with numerous groups, notably the Islamist and Salafist groups fighting to create an independent state in the northern Azawad region. The government has been repeatedly criticised for failing to exercise sovereignty within its borders.

It remains to be seen whether Dicko’s call to action will bear fruit or cause further unrest in a country grappling with war and a pandemic. While the government fears the political repercussions of the protests and Dicko’s influential momentum, it is unclear how Keïta will respond.

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