73-year-old Malian President Seeks Re-election

FILE PHOTO: Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita attends the funeral of a griot singer Kasse Mady Diabate on May 26, 2018 in Bamako. PHOTO: Michele CATTANI / AFP


Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita will run for re-election in July, his office said on its Twitter account Monday.

The 73-year-old leader had been widely expected to seek a second five-year term in the troubled Sahel nation.

The election is set for July 29, with a second round planned for August 12 if no candidate obtains an absolute majority of votes.

Keita will face around a dozen challengers, including Modibo Kone, a rural development expert at the West African Development Bank, and Hamadoun Toure, who runs the “Smart Africa” initiative to drive development on the continent via technology.

Planned elections have been repeatedly postponed since 2013, in part because of security concerns over Islamist extremism.

Jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali in early 2012, but were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched the following year.

Mali’s army, French soldiers and a UN mission still have little control over large tracts of the West African country, which regularly comes under attack despite a peace accord signed in May and June 2015 with the aim of isolating the jihadists.

The past two years have seen Islamist attacks spread to central and southern areas as well as over the border into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Regional elections, already pushed back from December to April, were again postponed in March to the end of 2018.


Mali Hotel Attack: Police Hunt For Three Suspects

mali huntingAt least three people suspected of involvement in a jihadist attack on a luxury hotel in Bamako, Mali’s capital, that killed 21 people were being hunted down by Malian security forces on Saturday, a security source said.

The source added that the hotel is now totally under control following the nine-hour attack, which was claimed by Al-Qaeda affiliate the Al-Murabitoun group and ended after Malian and international troops stormed the complex.

A police source said that Malian President, Ibrahim Keita, was expected to visit the site of the attack on Saturday.

Malian security sources said that more than 100 people were taken hostage in the raid while at least three terrorists were killed or blew themselves up.

Two militants were also killed, after Special Forces stormed the hotel, freeing dozens of trapped guests.

President Keita declared a state of emergency and three days of national mourning.

Jonathan Condemns Killing Of Emir Of Gwoza, Urges Nigerians To Unite

Goodluck-JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has extended condolences to the Government and people of Borno State, as well as Northern Traditional Rulers on the death on Friday of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, President Jonathan utterly condemned “the heinous murder of the Emir by brigands and terrorists” who waylaid the convoy in which he was travelling with two other Emirs.

The President believes that the brazen attack and the wanton slaying of the respected traditional ruler reinforces the vital need, which he emphasized in his Democracy Day Broadcast, for all patriotic Nigerians, irrespective of where they come from, their religions or political loyalties, to come together and work with urgency and complete unity of purpose to quickly end the murderous attacks by terrorists and insurgents that continue to threaten the security, cohesion and well-being of the nation.

The President reassured the nation that Nigeria’s Armed Forces and security agencies would continue to receive all the empowerment and support they require from the Federal Government to speedily give maximum effect to his orders that they take all necessary action to stop the brigands, terrorists and insurgents “who descended to new depths of infamy yesterday with the dastardly killing of a First Class Traditional Ruler.”

The President prays that Almighty Allah would receive the soul of the slain Emir and grant his family and subjects the equanimity to bear his loss.

Insurgency: FG Reveals ECOWAS Summit Resolution, Reacts To Emir’s Killing

Dr Reuben AbatiHeads of states and governments of West African states have resolved to share intelligence and cooperate with Nigeria in the fight against boko haram in Nigeria.

The resolution was following the extraordinary session of the ECOWAS which held in Accra, Ghana over the weekend.

Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said that assisting Nigeria would not only ensure stability in the region, but engender sustainable development with the West African sub region.

ECOWAS member nations were said to have condemned the terrorist activities in Nigeria and resolved that whatever happened in Nigeria or Mali or any other West African country was a concern of everyone because they all share a common destiny.

The President was in Ghana when news came in that the terrorists had attacked and killed the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrissa Shehu Timta.

The President expressed sadness over the death of the Emir in the hands of the Boko Haram, saying that the incident showed the desperation of the terrorists to destabilise the country, pledging that at the end of the day Nigeria would prevail; no matter how desperate the Boko Haram terrorists might be.

He said that the Government was determined to rid the country of terrorism.

Just back from the ECOWAS extraordinary summit in Ghana, President Goodluck Jonathan met with the Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, in the Presidential Villa to further discuss matters concerning the fight against terror.

He also played host to Sheik Tijani Nyass from Senegal.  The sheik, who came with some Islamic scholars, was said to have made innumerable contributions towards the establishment of an enduring peace and love in Nigeria since 1963 and has prayed that the issue of terror would soon be a thing of the past in the country.

The Presidency also had to clear the air on whether it was giving amnesty for the Boko Haram or not, and Dr Abati explained that the President might not have used the word amnesty but that opportunities have been created for the Boko Haram terrorists who are willing to renounce terrorism and embrace peace.