Mali’s political opposition said it would halt protests in a “truce” ahead of the upcoming Eid festival, as four West African presidents prepare to travel to the country this week for mediation talks to try and resolve a deepening crisis.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been locked in a standoff for weeks with the opposition June 5 Movement, and the conflict spiraled into violent clashes earlier this month, leaving nearly a dozen people dead.
Opposition figures have been tapping into a wellspring of anger over the president’s perceived failures in tackling the dire economy, corruption and an eight-year jihadist conflict.
The leaders of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal and Niger will fly to the capital Bamako for talks on Thursday regarding the impasse, according to a Malian presidency official.
Nouhoun Sarr, one of the protest movement leaders, told AFP overnight Monday to Tuesday that the opposition has “decided to observe a truce on the subject of civil disobedience. This is to allow Malians to properly prepare for and celebrate Eid.”
“During this period, there will be no more demonstrations. And as you also know, we are preparing to host the heads of state,” he said.