Mali Crisis: EU Condemns Attempted Coup, Fearing Destabilization of Sahel

Written by | Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and several government officials were detained by mutinying military forces on Tuesday night (18 August) in what the EU described as an attempted coup d’etat. The attempted coup is not considered to be related to months of political protests led by the opposition. Instead, local diplomatic sources have suggested that the coup has been led by national guard soldiers as a result of a pay dispute. However, the latest events have prompted fears that the west African country could be set to see a rerun of the mutiny in 2012 that led to a coup d’etat which opened the way to Islamic extremists and ethnic separatists to seize swaths of territory in the north of Mali.
The leaders of the military coup have promised to enact a political transition and stage elections within a “reasonable time. The forced departure of the Malian president has already prompted fears that terror groups with links to al-Qaida and “Islamic State” with strongholds in northern Mali could carry out attacks on vital facilities and further destabilize the west African country. “The political situation after the military coup in Bamako is, unfortunately, a lot worse than it was before. Now, we have a military coup, and the crisis in Bamako will also have a significant impact on the security situation in the entire region of the Sahel,” Thomas Schiller, of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in the Malian capital, Bamako, told the media.
Mali has been among the top 10 countries of origin for migrants arriving in Europe via Italy. In October 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to support the government in Mali in bringing about stability and development. Both regional and international political players hope that the situation in Mali doesn’t escalate into anarchy. The EU said it will insist on new elections within a reasonable timeframe. China said it opposes regime change by force. On Wednesday (19 August), the African Union suspended Mali and called for an immediate return to civilian rule. Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, having previously warned it would no longer tolerate military coups in the region, said it plans to send a delegation to Mali to ensure a return to constitutional democracy.

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