By Jerry Fisayo-Bambi
Mali’s opposition has rejected an offer to meet with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in order to defuse a months-long political crisis.
Nigeria’s former-president Goodluck Jonathan, who is chief international mediator in the crisis, proposed the meeting before the scheduled end of his latest trip to the Sahel state on Thursday.
He had arrived Bamako on Monday, the eve of the latest day of massive anti-Keita protests. There were no major or reported violent incidents but Goodluck Jonathan’s visit after meeting with the government and the opposition, has yet again not yielded desired results. He had previously led a mediation mission to the country in July.
In a statement, the “June 5 Movement” said it could not meet the 75-year-old Keita while its “activists are subject to a manhunt by the regime’s repressive forces”.
“Today, there is unspeakable repression followed by hasty judgments that we cannot accept. Today there are political detainees from our ranks and we do not intend to enter into any discussion until they are released outright. No provisional release, but a definitive release.” – Mountaga Tall, leader of the June 5 Movement told journalists Thursday.
Mali is in the grip of a deep political impasse between President Boubacar Keita and the June 5 movement.
Concerns that the Sahel state may slide into chaos and badly affect an already volatile region is prompting concerted mediation efforts from the 15 member regional bloc ECOWAS.
But the so-called “June 5 Movement” consisting of key opposition and religious leaders in the country have continued to reject ECOWAS proposals and insist on President Keita’s resignation.