Mali president returns to crisis-wracked nation
BAMAKO: Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traore was expected in Bamako yesterday amid tight security following a two-month stay in Paris for medical treatment after being violently attacked in his office.
Traore, 70, was due to arrive in Bamako at 1630 (local and GMT), a government statement said, to a country in a worse state of crisis than when he left it. He was attacked by a mob protesting his appointment on May 21, the eve of the official start of a transition period for a return to democratic rule in the troubled west African country after a March 22 coup.
|Read this guy's bio and you realize that maybe, just maybe, al-Qaeda is an upgrade for Mali...|
“We have taken the necessary security measures so that his return goes well,” a senior official in the security ministry said.
Traore’s Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra is trying to cobble together a wider unity government on the orders of mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc to deal with the mounting crisis. ECOWAS wants to send a 3,000-strong military force to Mali, but is waiting for United Nations approval and a formal request from Bamako.
Mali has until July 31 to form the unity government, a process which faces further hurdles after key political parties called for Diarra to step down, accusing him of “incompetence and amateurishness.”
Traore, whose own party was one of the signatories to the statement demanding the prime minister’s resignation, will have to decide whether to keep the astrophysicist in the post. He also faces the continued influence of ex-junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, who has been accused by the African Union of meddling in political affairs, and by rights bodies of overseeing torture and enforced disappearances.
Diarra, who has worked for NASA and was also the Microsoft chairman for Africa, is the son-in-law of Moussa Traore who became president of Mali after ousting a previous regime and ruled for 23 years until 1991. Many in Mali see him as too close to the former putschists led by Sanogo.
Posted by: Steve White