Where is all this going to lead? Where is the end?
First, we have the coup leader. General Sanogo, arrested in November and charged with the kidnapping, torture and murder of over twenty loyal soldiers during the coup in April 2012. They were discovered in a mass grave recently. These “Red Berets” were loyal soldiers to the former president Amadou Toumani Toure, who was ousted in the coup. Fearing a counter coup, General Sanogo ordered them killed. He is facing imprisonment.
Today, I woke up to the news that the former ousted President, Amadou Toumani Toure is now going to be investigated for treason. Yesterday, the current Prime Minister reported that there are charges being brought before the National Assembly accusing Toure of gross negligence in his handling of the Tuareg separatists. He is accused of failing to equip the Malian military with the needed resources to succeed at anything. The chat on the street is that there was simply no money left for buying arms and ammunition for the military, because of the widespread corruption that was emptying the government’s coffers daily. Also, Toure is alleged to have promoted incompetent, unskilled military leaders to high ranks in the army, thereby dooming the Malian army to failure against the seasoned Tuareg. They seem to be interpreting this as gross negligence on Toure’s part, failure to protect the republic of Mali.
People here are saying Toure is hiding out in Dakar, Senegal. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the next few days. Will Senegal even give up Toure?
Of course, we never receive any notices of any sort from the Canadian embassy. However, I was speaking to an American who told us that they received a heads-up from the US Embassy’s US Citizen texting network. It seems there will be some peaceful protests tomorrow (Sunday, December 29th, 2013) and it might be a good day to keep low in Bamako.
Anyway, our new president seems ready to tackle corruption, having referred over a hundred such cases to the justice already, with six very high ranking officials among them. All of this shows some serious political will and weight being pushed around within Bamako’s new government. Our new President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has some serious cohones.
However, I am not certain what he hopes to accomplish with this treason allegation, long after the fact. The Government was rife with corruption (like most West African nations – so that makes it normal here) and the condition of the Malian army was abysmal. That was known for many years, and it was accepted, for the most part. It remains to be seen if anything has actually changed with the new government. We will know more, as the French pull out a further 2000 troops this month, and the work falls more squarely on the shoulders of the Malian Military.
It would not surprise me to see this bringing some uneasiness to the south, mainly to Bamako as the New Year sets in. I do not expect to see anything violent. However, people want to set the tone for the new year, a year of change, and we will probably see more demands for it over the next week.
All the while, Kidal still remains basically non-functional, with basic governmental services like education, health, and justice not functioning to this day.
Here, Sikasso will continue to sleep on.
- Mali ex-leader in high treason probe (bbc.co.uk)