The Star (Kenya)

Po­lice, pro­test­ers clash as Mali starts tran­si­tion talks

- REUTERS/ Military · Politics · Protests · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Social Issues · Society · Mali · Bamako · Africa · West Africa

Po­lice fired tear gas to dis­perse cam­paign­ers for civil­ian rule be­fore sub­stan­tive talks over Mali’s po­lit­i­cal fu­ture be­gan on Thurs­day, a sign of a deep­en­ing rift over who should lead the post­coup tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment.

About 100 sup­port­ers of the M5-RFP coali­tion, which led months of mass demon­stra­tions against de­posed Pres­i­dent Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, clashed with po­lice at the en­trance to the con­fer­ence cen­tre, de­lay­ing the start of the talks.

The junta that top­pled Keita on Au­gust 18 wants the tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment to be led by the mil­i­tary, while the M5-RFP and re­gional lead­ers have called for a civil­ian to take the role.

“They are try­ing to con­fis­cate our rev­o­lu­tion from us, we were very clear from the start. We want a civil­ian as pres­i­dent of the tran­si­tion, not a sol­dier,” said Bakary Keita, a se­nior mem­ber of M5-RFP.

In­ter­na­tional pow­ers fear the po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tainty in Bamako could un­der­mine the fight across West Africa’s Sa­hel re­gion against Is­lamist mil­i­tants linked to al Qaeda and Is­lamic State, as a pre­vi­ous coup did in 2012.

The talks be­tween the junta, po­lit­i­cal par­ties and civil so­ci­ety groups were called to re­solve a num­ber of is­sues in­clud­ing the length of the tran­si­tion and the make-up of the gov­ern­ing bod­ies.

West African lead­ers have de­manded the CNSP name a civil­ian in­terim pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter by Septem­ber 15 if they are to start eas­ing sanc­tions im­posed in the af­ter­math of the coup.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya