Outrage over French air-strike in Mali

A French airstrike killed 19 civilians attending a wedding celebration in a remote central Malian village, according to an investigation by the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA. The report based its findings on hundreds of interviews, satellite images, and evidence gathered from a trip to Bounti, the village hit by the Jan. 3 strike. The French defense ministry rejected the report, maintaining the casualties were Islamist militants. French troops were hailed as heroes by many Malians when they drove out militant groups from major towns in the country's desert north in 2013. But criticism has grown as a more than 5,000-strong regional counter-insurgency force—called Operation Barkhane—has failed to prevent the militants from regrouping and expanding across West Africa's Sahel. Despite some recent battlefield gains, the operation is drawing increasing comparisons to the US war in Afghanistan.

From The New Humanitarian, April 2.

French forces have been accused of mistaken air-raids in the context of Operation Barkhane before. See our last posts on the January air-strike on the village of Bounti, and the crisis in the Sahel.

Coup d'etat in Mali —again

In another deepening of Mali's ongoing political crisis, the president and prime minister have been ousted by the officer who led last year's coup. Col. Assimi Goïta says President Bah Ndaw (N'Daou) and PM Moctar Ouane failed in their duties and were seeking to sabotage the country's transition. They were arrested hours after a government reshuffle which saw two senior army officers replaced. Col. Goïta says elections will still go ahead next year as planned. (BBC News, NYT)

Mali high court declares coup leader as interim president

The Constitutional Court of Mali on May 28 declared Assimi Goïta, the colonel who led a military coup against interim President Bah Ndaw, as the new interim president of Mali.

The court made the move following what it described as a "vacancy in the presidency," which emerged after the alleged forced resignation of Ndaw. Soldiers backing Goïta had detained Ndaw and interim Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, before releasing them May 27 after they agreed to resign from their posts. (Jurist)

ECOWAS suspends Mali following coup

Members of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Mali May 31 at an emergency summit in response to the recent coup d’etat. (Jurist)

African Union suspends Mali following coup

The African Union on June 1 suspended Mali from the organization, following the military coup that occurred last week and threatened sanctions if the country fails to restore a civilian government. (Jurist)