Mali accuses Macron of ‘neo-colonial’ attitude

The military government in Mali has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of a “neo-colonial, paternalistic and condescending” attitude.

The junta asked Mr Macron to stop his criticism of the Malian army and stirring “ethnic hatred”.

It follows Mr Macron’s remarks last week during his tour in West Africa that regional states had the responsibility to ensure Malian people can “express the sovereignty of the people”.

Mr Macron also criticised the deployment of Russian mercenaries in Mali – which Mali denies.

“The transitional government demands that President Macron definitively abandon his neo-colonial, paternalistic and condescending posture to understand that no-one can love Mali more than the Malians,” government spokesman, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, said on public television.

Bamako also condemned what it called “hateful and defamatory” remarks blaming the Malian army of killing civilians during recent operations.

It criticised Mr Macron for making “erroneous” accusations “despite denials” by the Malian government.

The Malian army and Russian paramilitaries were accused of carrying out a massacre of hundreds of civilians in the central town of Moura in late March, according to Human Rights Watch.

Relations between Paris and Bamako have deteriorated significantly over the past year.

France was pushed out by the junta after nine yearsin Mali fighting jihadists.

Widespread anger at chronic insecurity in the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso paved the way for military men to kick out failing governments over the past two years.

“There’s no more room for mistakes,” said Mali’s coup leader as he seized power in August 2020.

“We have more than what it takes to win this war,” echoed Burkina Faso’s new man in charge earlier this year. So are citizens now safer? The short answer is, no.

In both countries, attacks by Islamist militants on civilians have only increased. The same was true of civilian deaths – more ordinary people were being killed by Islamists, militants and the military.

“The tallies for each year are increasing year by year,” says Héni Nsaibia, a senior researcher covering West Africa’s Sahel region for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED). -BBC

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