Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has stated main opposition chief Soumaila Cisse, who was kidnapped days earlier than the nation’s parliamentary election in March, is alive.
In a speech within the capital, Bamako, Keita stated on Tuesday the federal government had proof that Cisse was nonetheless alive after months in captivity.
“We all know who his captors are,” he stated, with out elaborating. “And if it pleases God, he’ll come again quickly.”
Final month, Cisse’s household advised Al Jazeera the federal government was “transferring too sluggish” in securing the discharge of the 70-year-old, the runner-up in a 2018 presidential election and president of the Union for the Republic and Democracy get together.
Unidentified gunmen seized Cisse on March 25 whereas he was campaigning within the restive Timbuktu area forward of the Could 29 vote.
Regardless of a years-long battle raging in Mali, Cisse’s abduction was the primary of a politician of his rank. Safety officers have since stated they believe al-Qaeda-linked fighters of being behind the kidnapping.
Mali has been struggling to comprise an armed marketing campaign that started as a localised revolt within the nation’s north in 2012 earlier than spreading to the centre of the nation after which to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.
A French army intervention, army campaigns by nationwide armies and one of many UN’s largest peacekeeping forces have didn’t stem the violence, which killed 4,000 individuals within the three international locations final yr and displaced lots of of 1000’s, in response to UN figures.
The battle has exacerbated ethnic tensions and native grievances over poverty and the absence of the state, giving rise to ethnic militias and bolstering help for armed teams, a few of that are linked to al-Qaeda and the ISIL (ISIS) group.
Individually on Tuesday, Keita stated he would maintain talks on establishing a brand new unity authorities, after weeks of escalating criticism over the a number of crises besetting the nation, together with the worsening safety scenario.
Financial stagnation, faltering public companies and a widespread notion of corrupt governance have additionally fed opposition to the president.
On June 5, tens of 1000’s of individuals rallied in Bamako, demanding Keita’s resignation over his perceived mismanagement of the nation.
That protest was organised by a coalition of political opposition teams, which has since rebranded itself the “June 5” motion.
The rally additionally adopted sporadic demonstrations final month over the result of the parliamentary elections, which Keita’s get together gained, in addition to over coronavirus restrictions.
On Tuesday, Keita stated he would “start consultations for the formation of a authorities of nationwide unity”, in an obvious overture to Mali’s political opposition.
He additionally recommended first steps in the direction of reforming the constitutional court docket and the nationwide parliament.
Al Jazeera and information companies