After reports were circulated that President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane had been illegally detained by soldiers, the UN mission in Mali called for an immediate release of the leaders. This news came after the report that interim President Ndaw and Minister Ouane were taken to the Kati military camps near the capital of the nation, Bamako by the soldiers. Additionally, it has been reported that Defense Minister Souleymane Doucouré has also been detained.
This latest turn of events has caused a fear to spread in the country about a second coup that is likely to happen in a span of one year. On Monday, during a phone call, Mr. Ouane told AFP that soldiers had come ‘to get him’ after which the call was reportedly disconnected.
The MINUSMA mission, which is the UN mission in Mali tweeted and called for ‘calm’ in the nation and asked the leaders to be released immediately and unconditionally. Antonio Guterres tweeted in French to bring about stability in this impoverished nation. The news of the detention came hours after a reshuffle that saw two army officials displaced who had participated in last year’s coup.
This act of detention has been vastly criticized by organizations like the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the EU which condemned the ‘kidnapping’ of the country’s civilian leadership and considered it a grave misdeed. The action has also been criticized by the USA and the US embassy in Bamako said it received ‘reports of increased military activity in Bamako’, urging Americans to limit their movement in the region.
Just nine months since the situation previously accelerated, the democracy is volatile and unstable yet again. The last military coup saw President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta removed from his position. It can be conjectured that while the citizens of the nation supported the removal of Keïta from his office, there is anger at the extreme predominance of the military in the transitional government. The slow pace of reforms that had been promised has also served to anger the citizens of the nation further. This interim government had been approved in September 2020.
Mali had seen yet another coup back in 2012 that had resulted in militant Islamists exploiting the power and the instability to seize control in regions of Northern Mali. The country has therefore been witness to several events where power has been used to take control, politically and militarily.
The citizens of the nation are facing an uncertain future and the UN mission in Mali is trying to establish a semblance of stability in the functioning of this country that is going through a precarious situation.