On Saturday, Mali’s Prime Minister attacked the former French colony, the United Nations. The secretary-general, and many in between, say the tumultuous country has been “stabbed in the back” by the French withdrawal. In the same comment, Abdoulaye Maiga praised “the exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia.”
Maiga directly criticized United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with the fourth sentence of his address to the General Assembly. And he emphasized what he called France’s “unilateral decision” to move remaining troops to neighboring Niger amid deteriorating relations with Mali’s two-time coup leader, Col. Assimi Goita.
While it was Goita and his allies who ousted the democratically elected president by military force two years ago, Mali’s prime minister repeatedly referred to a “French army” throughout his speech. on Saturday.
“Let’s move on from the colonial past and hear the anger, frustration, rejection from African cities and rural areas, and understand that this movement is irreversible,” Maiga said. “Your threats and subversive actions only add to the ranks of Africans who care about upholding their dignity.”
France intervened militarily in 2013, spearheading an effort to oust Islamist extremists from control of the northern Malian towns they overcame. Over the past nine years, France has continued to be present in an effort to stabilize the country amid a series of rebel attacks. France’s departure has raised new concerns about whether the gunmen will regain territory with security responsibility now falling to the Malian military and the UN. peacekeepers.
Maiga stressed on Saturday that “terrorist groups have been severely weakened” since the August 2020 coup, although militants over the summer attacked the country’s largest military base, only to 15 km from the capital Bamako.
In a speech over 30 minutes long, he covered everything from Victor Hugo to the Rwandan genocide. Maiga repeated baseless claims that France colluded with Islamic extremists and spoke of nefarious elements with a “hidden agenda”.
At one point he even called to question the nationality of Niger’s President, Mohamed Bazoum, whom he called “a foreigner claiming to be from Niger.”
“We know that the people of Niger, the brothers of Mali, are distinguished by very rich social, cultural and religious values,” Maiga said. “Bazoum is not Nigerien.”
Malian’s prime minister gave a stark assessment of the United Nations peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA, while publicly praising the influence of Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group, who have served accused of human rights violations.
“We have to admit that almost 10 years after its founding, the goals that MINUSMA was deployed in Mali have not been achieved,” Maiga said. “This defies many Security Council resolutions.”
Malian’s prime minister has also had particularly sharp words for Guterres, criticizing his recent comments about the discord between Mali and Ivory Coast over the detention of 46 Ivory soldiers.
Maiga reiterated her statement to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that the soldiers were sent to Mali as mercenaries, something the Ivory government has strongly denied. Ivory Coast says the soldiers are to provide security for a company contracted by the United Nations, but Maiga insists that “there is no link between 46 and the United Nations.”
On Saturday, he said the soldiers had come to Bamako with weapons, on papers proving they were painters and builders. Instead, he said, they came with “the evil purpose of destabilizing the country.”
Three female Ivory soldiers were released as a “humanitarian gesture”, but there are no updates on the rest.
“Since friendship is based on sincerity, I would like to express my profound disagreement with your recent media appearance in which you took up a stand and expressed yourself about case of 46 Ivorian mercenaries,” he said in comments aimed at Guterres.
The nature of the offenses in the case “is not within the jurisdiction of the United Nations Secretary-General”, he added.
Maiga, a government spokesman, was sent to New York to speak before the UN General Assembly instead of Goita. Instead, the coup leader attended Friday’s celebrations in Bamako marking Mali’s independence from France in 1960.
Attending that event was also the leader of the military who took power in Guinea more than a year after Mali’s coup. A third West African country, Burkina Faso, experienced a military coup in January, raising fears that democracy is lagging in the region amid rising violence from insurgents. Islamic extremists.