Former Mali Official Charged Over Expletive-Laden Anti-Trump Tweet

 

 

 

A former Malian government official was charged on Thursday for sending embarrassing tweets from the president’s account about the US assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani a judicial source said.

The former spokesperson for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Tiegoum Maiga, later outed himself on his own Twitter account.

Keita’s official Twitter account had posted on Monday that “no one is around to tell Trump that he committed a fuck-up” by ordering the assassination of Soleimani.

Soleimani was killed on Friday in a US drone strike in Iraq ordered by President Donald Trump, triggering fears of a retaliatory strike and an escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

The Malian presidency account added that Trump “threatens world peace and has made of the US a rogue state”.

The tweets, which have since been deleted, were widely shared and Maiga was arrested.

On Thursday he was charged and “placed in detention for internet fraud and harmful data entry,” his lawyer Moussa Maiga told AFP. A judicial source confirmed the charges.

“What is serious is the use of the presidential (Twitter) account to send a message of this nature which could create problems between our two countries,” a presidential official said.

Maiga, the brother of former Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, said on Tuesday that he left his job in November but had forgotten he still had access to the president’s account.

The tweets were meant for his personal account and he had “no desire to be a nuisance,” he added.

The US also suffered a PR fiasco on Monday, when it said a draft letter describing steps to move its military out of Iraq had been mistakenly sent out.

The Fulanis: Spotlight On Mali’s Jihadist Insurgency

 

For centuries, the Fulani people trod the paths of the Sahel with their cattle, largely unnoticed by the rest of the world.

Today, the world’s attention has turned to this ancient herding community as many of its members have been ensnared in a deadly jihadist insurgency spreading from Mali’s restive north to its centre.

In the Mopti region, the Fulani — also called Peuls — are the biggest ethnic group and the most numerous recruits to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist cells, such as the notorious Katiba Macina.

The group’s Fulani leader Amadou Koufa has called on his “brothers” throughout West Africa to join his holy war against “non-believers”.

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The deep poverty and isolation of the Fulani people have made many vulnerable to the siren call of the jihad — an appeal that today is disseminated at lightning speed on WhatsApp and Facebook.

The herders’ prominent role in the jihadist revolt has ignited long-standing rivalries, based on access to land, with farmer groups.

The conflict has turned a once-peaceful tourist region into a no-go area for visitors, its highways sown with roadside bombs, and swathes of the countryside are littered with abandoned burned-out villages.

Hundreds have been killed and the situation is getting worse by the day — the number of people who have fled their homes in Mopti has quadrupled over the last year to 70,000, according to the UN.

The violence in Mali, in turn, has spread to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, stirring anxiety among the coastal states of West Africa that they could be next in line.

Ousted Malian President Arrives Back In Bamako

Mali’s ousted former president Amadou Toumani Toure. Photo: Wikimedia

 

Mali’s ousted former president Amadou Toumani Toure returned to the country on Sunday for the first time since a coup deposed him in 2012.

Toure flew into the capital, Bamako, the scene of his downfall on March 22, 2012, when mutinous soldiers overthrew the government and detained him.

The coup led by army captain Amadou Sanogo toppled what had been heralded as one of the region’s most stable democracies, before the country’s northern territory was overrun by Islamist rebels allied with Al-Qaeda.

Toure, who arrived with his family on board the presidential plane, travelled to the personal residence of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, with whom he is due to have lunch.

He was welcomed by the prime minister and security minister, along with hundreds of supporters at around midday (1200 GMT).

Keita said on Friday the moment had arrived “for us to tell our brother Amadou Toumani Toure to return to Mali,” while Toure told AFP from the Senegal capital, Dakar, that he was “not there to do politics”.

Toure has been living in exile in Senegal ever since he was deposed.

He was accused by Keita’s government in 2012 of treason over the failure of soldiers to tackle a rebellion led by Tuareg people that eventually led to jihadists trying to take over the country. The charges were dropped last year.

Islamist militants took control of northern cities in Mali in March and April 2012 but were chased out by a French-led military operation launched in January 2013, which is still under way.

Mali’s army, French soldiers and a UN mission (MINUSMA) have little control of large tracts of the country, which regularly come under attack in spite of a peace accord signed with Tuareg leaders in May and June 2015, aimed at isolating the jihadists.

AFP

Fire Destroys Part Of Main Bamako Market

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in the early hours of Thursday morning. (AFP)

A huge fire ripped through part of the main market in the Malian capital, Bamako, on Monday morning causing widespread damage, local officials said.

No one was killed or injured in the blaze that started at around 0400 GMT (0400 local time) and destroyed shops and stalls.

Authorities have yet to determine the fire’s cause but potential criminal involvement is being considered because three separate fires appear to have started at the same time.

“The bizarre thing is that there were three simultaneous outbreaks of fire,” a security officer at the market, who requested anonymity, told AFP.

“Three fires at the same time, it’s probably on purpose, even if we must wait until the end of the investigation,” he said.

A member of the Malian Association of Retail Merchants estimated that the blaze caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

“Three fires at the same time, that deserves reflexion,” said Adama Sangare, mayor of the Bamako district, who pledged an investigation into the blaze.

There have been major fires at the central market of Bamako before, including in 1993, when it almost completely burned down.

A few months ago, the government launched a major modernisation project, including private companies, that was expected to renovate and extend the market.

AFP

How France Can Help Africa Overcome Its Challenges – Buhari

How France Can Help Africa Overcome Its Challenges – BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari believes that France can do more to help Africa overcome its challenges, although its partnership with the African continent has yielded fruits in so many positive ways.

President Buhari shared this view on Saturday at the 27th Africa-France Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence taking place in Bamako, Mali.

He said: “Notably, France has been playing important roles in the areas of development as well as peace and security on the African continent.

“While so many gains have been made, challenges such as terrorism, maritime insecurity, trafficking in persons, trafficking in weapons, drugs, cyber insecurity, illicit financial flows, and infrastructural deficit continue to militate against Africa’s comprehensive infrastructural and economic development which also hinder its emergence as an important player in global affairs.”

He, therefore, called for a strengthening of African Defence mechanisms such that the continent would be able to transform decisions arising from the partnership into concrete action plans that will help Africa confront and overcome its challenges.

“In particular, our cooperation should strengthen our Defence in the context of African Peace and Security Architecture as well as in the areas of intelligence sharing, capacity building and acquisition of military hardware needed to confront the security challenges of the African continent.”

The Nigerian President also called for intensification of efforts that will stimulate the African economy, address social imbalance and steer its youths away from high risk and unproductive ventures.

“Efforts should also be geared towards the development and emergence of the continent through investments in critical sectors such as Education, Power, Solid Minerals, Agriculture and ICT.

“This will enable African economies to spur productivity and create employment, thereby addressing some of the socio-economic conditions that contribute to gender inequality, radicalism and youth restiveness, as well as the push factors that make our citizens embark on dangerous illegal migration to Europe in search of ‘greener’ pastures,” the President said.

While declaring that African countries were taking their own destinies in their own hands by mobilizing resources , President Buhari hoped that the Partnership will still do more for Africa.

“As we continue to mobilize for our own sustainable, predictable and transparent sources of finance that would help the continent pursue its peace, security and development efforts, and address the infrastructural deficit impeding development on the continent, there is the need for this Partnership to continue to assist Africa on how to finance its development,” Buhari concluded.

Gunmen Attack EU Military Mission HQ In Mali, One Attacker Killed

MaliGunmen on Monday attacked a hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, that had been converted into the headquarters of a European Union military training operation, but there were no casualties among the mission’s personnel.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which began at around 6:30 p.m. local time (1830 GMT), but Mali and neighboring West African countries have increasingly been the target of Islamist militants, some of them affiliated with al Qaeda.

One of the assailants was killed and two suspects were arrested and were being interrogated, the country’s internal security minister said.

A witness said that the attack targeted Bamako’s Nord-Sud Hotel, headquarters for the mission of nearly 600 EU personnel deployed to Mali to train its security forces.

“The attackers tried to force through the entry and the guards posted in front of the entrance opened fire. One attacker was killed,” he said.

Sekou Tamboura was also near the hotel when the shooting erupted.

“We were next to the Hamdallaye Cemetery when the first shot rang out, then there was a second and a third. There were a few seconds of pause, then it kicked off and did not stop. It was every man for himself,” Tamboura said.

Landmine Kills 3 Soldiers In Mali

LandmineMalian officials say three soldiers have been killed after their vehicle hit a landmine in the central region of Mopti.

Two others were wounded and have been taken to a hospital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But Al-Qaeda-linked militants have been fighting the Army in northern Mali for years.

The incident happened in Mondoro, next to the border with Burkina Faso

In January 2013, France, the former colonial power in the country, intervened to stop their advance south to the capital.

But attacks across the country have increased recently, including a shooting at a hotel in the capital, Bamako, that left 22 people dead in November.

Mali Arrests Two Suspects Linked To Hotel Attack

MAliSpecial forces in Mali have arrested two suspects in connection with the siege at a hotel in Bamako that left 20 people dead.

The identity of the suspects and alleged role in Friday’s attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel remains unknown.

According to Reuters, a source close to the investigation said the suspects had been brought in for interrogation, based on information found in one of the attacker’s mobile phones.

One of them had been regularly in touch with one of the gunmen since August while another sent telephone credit to an attacker, he said.

“It’s only after questioning that we will find out if the second suspect sells phone credit or is an accomplice,” said the source, requesting anonymity.

Armed men held 170 guests and staff hostage during the nine-hour siege, killing 20 and wounding 14 others before police stormed the building.

Mali’s Security Minister, Salif Traore said that there were two attackers armed with AK-47 assault rifles. An al-Qaeda affiliate has claimed responsibility for the attack in which two militants died.

Buhari Condemns Mali Hotel Attack

Buhari Condemns Mali Hotel AttackNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has joined other peace-loving nations of the world in condemning Friday’s dastardly terrorist attack on a hotel in Bamako, Mali.

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina on Saturday, President Buhari assured President Ibrahim Keita and the people of Mali of the full support and solidarity of the Federal Government and people of Nigeria as they mourn those who lost their lives in the attack and strive to bring the surviving perpetrators to justice.

The President also extended heartfelt condolences to the governments and people of China, Russia, the United States and Belgium whose nationals sadly lost their lives in the heinous and callous attack.

Against the background of persisting atrocities in Nigeria and other countries across the world, President Buhari called for an intensification of international cooperation against all known terrorist organisations, their collaborators and sponsors.

The President reaffirmed that Nigeria, under his leadership, would remain committed to deploying all necessary resources and working with friendly nations, regional, continental and global organisations to speedily overcome the continuing threat of terrorism to world peace and security.

Mali Hotel Attack: All Hostages Freed

MAli-attackMali’s Interior Minister, Salif Traore, has said that all hostages held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, have been freed.

Malian special forces entered the hotel after Islamist gunmen stormed the building shooting and shouting “God is great!” in Arabic.

The US-owned hotel is popular with foreign businesses and airline crews.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but al-Qaeda affiliated militants have previously carried out attacks in the Sahel based country.

The Radisson Blu Hotel attack is coming a week after Islamic State (IS) militants killed 129 people in Paris.

Mali Attack: Special Forces Storm Hotel, 30 Hostages Freed

mali attackSpecial forces have entered the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to end the siege by gunmen who had been holding 170 people hostage.

The gunmen stormed the US-owned hotel, which is popular with foreign businesses and airline crews, shooting and shouting “God is great!” in Arabic.

Mali’s Interior Minister, Salif Traore, said 30 hostages had been freed so far.

Three people had been shot dead and two soldiers were wounded, but their lives were not in danger, he said.

Among the rescued people are: 12 crew members of Air France and five from Turkish Airlines.

Report says Chinese citizens and indians were among those trapped inside the building.

The United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force said it was supporting the operation, as Malian special forces freed hostages “floor by floor”.

The Radisson Blu Hotel attack is coming a week after Islamic State (IS) militants killed 129 people in Paris.

170 Held Hostage After Attack On Hotel In Mali

Radisson-Blu-Hotel-BamakoAt least 170 people have been taken hostage by gunmen shouting Islamic slogans after an attack on a luxury hotel full of foreigners in Mali’s capital, Bamako.

A senior security source and the hotel’s operator said the attack occurred early on Friday morning.

No casualty figure has been given.

The raid on the Radisson Blu hotel, which lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices in the former French colony, comes a week after Islamic State (IS) militants killed 129 people in Paris.

The identity of the Bamako gunmen, or the group to which they belong, is not known.

The security source said as many as 10 gunmen had stormed the building, firing shots and shouting “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is great” in Arabic.

Witnesses in the area said police had surrounded the hotel and were blocking roads leading into the neighbourhood.

The Chinese state news agency Xinhua said several Chinese tourists were among those trapped inside the building.

The company that runs the hotel popular to foreigners in Mali, Rezidor Group, said it understood that there were two gunmen.

“According to our information, two people are holding 140 clients and 30 employees,” it said in a statement quoted by the BBC.

A senior member of the hotel’s security detail said two private security guards had been injured in the early stages of the attack, which began at 7 a.m. (0700 GMT).

The U.S. Embassy tweeted that it was “aware of an ongoing active shooter operation at the Radisson Hotel,” and instructed its citizens to stay indoors.

An Islamist group claimed responsibility for the death of five people last March in an attack on a restaurant in Bamako that is popular with foreigners.

Northern Mali was occupied by Islamist fighters, some with links to al Qaeda, for most of 2012. Although they were driven out by a French-led military operation, sporadic violence has continued.