DAKAR — Four hostages held by armed insurgents in Mali were freed on Thursday, days after the country’s newly-formed Malian government released around 200 prisoners, including some suspected of being jihadists.
The four hostages released included Soumaïla Cissé, a prominent Malian politician, Sophie Pétronin, a French aid worker who had been held for almost four years, and two Italians: Pierluigi Maccalli, a priest abducted in neighboring Niger in 2018, and Nicola Chiacchio, who was kidnapped last year during a solo bicycle trip.
The government, which took power in September following a military coup, announced the releases Thursday evening. It said they had been secured thanks to the efforts of the country’s intelligence services, the armed forces, Mali’s partners and a special crisis unit led by a former prime minister, but it did not provide details of the conditions under which the hostages were released.
The government’s release of prisoners last
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Saturday that it welcomed the establishment of a transitional government in Mali as “an initial step towards a return to constitutional order.”
In late September, President Bah Ndaw, a retired colonel appointed president of the transition, named veteran diplomat Moctar Ouane as interim prime minister.
The men will be tasked with overseeing an 18-month transition back to civilian rule after the Aug. 18 overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
“We urge the transitional government to honor its commitments to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including holding democratic elections within 18 months,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
The statement also urged the transitional government to fight corruption and reform electoral processes.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this week called on Mali’s transitional government to maintain a 2015 peace agreement deemed critical for the country’s stability.
The appeal came in a report submitted to the Security Council.
“The peace agreement remains the relevant framework for the urgently needed institutional reforms, and its implementation must remain a priority,” the UN chief said in the document, which has not yet been made public but was obtained by AFP.
The peace deal, signed under the country’s previous president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, was meant to disarm rebel groups and integrate them into the national army, but its implementation has dragged on for years despite international pressure.
“There is no viable alternative. I call on the transitional authorities to take ownership of the agreement,” Guterres added.
A military junta overthrew Keita last month, before taking over leadership of the West African nation long plagued by instability, a simmering
ABUJA (Reuters) – West African states are not ready to lift sanctions on Mali because the leaders of an Aug. 18 coup have not yet satisfied all the demands for a handover of power to a fully civilian government, Nigeria’s president said on Monday.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it would lift sanctions, which have caused imports to the landlocked country to slump 30%, once a civilian prime minister was named, as was the case on Sunday, among other demands.
President Bah Ndaw, a retired colonel appointed president of the transition, named veteran diplomat Moctar Ouane as interim prime minister.
But in a briefing with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, the ECOWAS envoy to Mali, former Nigerian President
The Bambara ethnic society is located in the central part of Mali. The Bambara cultivate the land for sustenance. The main occupation there is farming. The people engage in agricultural activities like the planting and cultivation of corn and other cereals. A section of the people also engages in pastoral farming. Some few selected people were trained in smithing and carving. These smiths and carvers are greatly respected and feared because they are believed to be closer to the gods and ancestors.
Their cultural life is cluttered with a lot of religious beliefs. These beliefs were greatly portrayed using artistic productions in sculpture, textiles, Blacksmithing, beadwork and much more. The Bambaras believe in God whom they call Faro. He is believed among the people as the creator and redeemer of the universe who sends rain for the fertility of the land. The sacred colour of Faro is white. Therefore, he … Read More