Mali Opposition Condemns Arrest of Leaders at Private Meeting, Alleges Government Repression


An alliance comprising political parties and civil society groups in Mali has condemned the arrest of several of their leaders during a private gathering held at a former minister’s residence. The incident occurred on Thursday evening and has sparked widespread criticism of the ruling military junta.

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BAMAKO, Mali, June 21 (Reuters) – Political parties and civil society organizations in Mali have united in protest after authorities detained eleven individuals, mostly political leaders, during a private meeting. The gathering took place at the home of a former minister, with the alliance demanding the immediate release of those arrested.

The West African nation has been under military rule since a coup in 2020, and tensions have escalated following a decree in April that imposed restrictions on political activities, citing public order concerns.

Boubacar Toure, representing one of the political parties, informed Reuters that 11 people were arrested at the meeting. He emphasized that most of them were prominent political figures. The alliance issued a scathing statement accusing the authorities of veering towards dictatorship to maintain power and stifle democratic voices.

Mali’s security ministry has not yet responded to requests for comment on the arrests.

In response to earlier criticisms by the coalition of political parties and civil society groups over delayed elections, the ruling junta suspended all political party activities. Despite appeals to the Malian Supreme Court, there is uncertainty regarding when the court will address the issue.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the meeting’s location was shared via a WhatsApp group for activists and political members, underscoring the secretive nature of the gathering. An association president, speaking anonymously to protect their safety, characterized the arrests as an attempt to instill fear and suppress dissent.

A political party’s secretary-general, also speaking anonymously, revealed that the gathering during the Eid religious festival aimed to exchange well-wishes and discuss pressing political issues. He criticized the junta’s crackdown on political activities, noting that such actions hinder open dialogue among Malians.

Despite the arrests, the secretary-general expressed confidence that Malians would persist in discussing political matters through alternative means, highlighting a determination to continue engagement despite government restrictions.

“People continue to communicate and express their opinions. We will find ways to meet again, whether in informal settings or public spaces,” he asserted.

The incident has drawn condemnation both domestically and internationally, with observers concerned about the implications for democratic freedoms in Mali under military rule.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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