Mali. In April, the government confirmed that presidential elections would be held in July with a possible second round in August. This is despite the fact that the security situation in the country remained very poor.
In January, militant Islamists attacked a military camp in Soumpi in the Timbuktu region of central Mali. According to reports, 14 soldiers were killed. In April, fighting broke out between rebels on the one hand and French and Malian troops on the other near the border with Niger. Several Malian soldiers are said to have been killed, as were some 30 Islamists. According to Countryaah.com, Bamako is the capital city of Mali, a country located in Western Africa. The UN force MINUSMA was also attacked on several occasions, including in April when two UN soldiers from Chad were killed in the northeastern part of the country. In the same month, a UN base was attacked in Timbuktu and a UN soldier and around 15 attackers were killed. Several of the attackers were partially dressed as peacekeepers.
Extremist Islamists also attacked the civilian population and at the end of April over 40 people, including women and children, were killed over a few days. According to MINUSMA, armed Tuaregists had previously executed close to 100 people and the attacks in April must have been retaliation for this.
In central Mali, conflicts arose between livestock-eating fulani and resident farmers from the dogon and bambara groups. According to the UNHCR (UNHCR), at least 289 civilians had been killed in clashes by the end of July.
After all, the presidential election was held on July 29, but up to 900 polling stations could not be opened because of the risk of violence, and about 250,000 people were thus prevented from voting. Some irregularities were reported, but the African Union (AU) considered the election to be acceptable and at the beginning of August the Constitutional Court ruled the election result. This showed that incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta received 42% of the vote and former Finance Minister Soumaïla Cissé 18%.
In the second round, which was held on 12 August, Keïta received 67% of the vote. Cissé’s loss was explained by his failure to gather the other opposition to the president and his party the Collection for Mali (RPM). On the contrary, several of the candidates in the first round gave their support to Keïta instead of Cissé. The challenger claimed that there had been electoral fraud and that in fact he would have received 52% of the vote. Observers from the EU and AU gave the choice largely approved and the Constitutional Court rejected the charges. Thus, Keïta could be sworn in for a second term in office. The Prime Minister since December 2017, Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, resigned in accordance with the rules of the Constitution but was reappointed by the President.
In September, it was announced that the parliamentary elections, which would actually take place in October, should instead be held in November and December. Later, it was postponed again in the future, this time to May 2019. In conjunction with the Constitutional Court, the MPs’ mandate extended by six months.
The headquarters of the regional security organization G5 Sahel was moved during the year from the city of Sevare in central Mali to the capital Bamako. This was decided after two soldiers and one civilian were killed in a suicide attack taken by the Islamist group Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen. The EU offered to pay for a new headquarters building.