AFRICA/MALI - Uncertain situation in Bamako while in the north the population suffers the oppression of Islamists
Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - The political crisis continues in Mali with the return of President ad interim Dioncounda Traore. As Don Edmond Dembele, Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference in Mali reports to Fides, the Country is still waiting for the government of national unity that the President announced he wants to constitute. It is not known if the current Prime Minister will remain. The latter in a television broadcast two weeks ago had ruled out any hypothesis of resignation, when the coalition parties of the former government overthrown by the military coup of March, called for his departure.
Meanwhile, the three leaders of another group that instead supports the military junta, COPAM, were summoned by the court in Bamako with regards to investigations on the attack on President Traore on May 21. The verdict of this trial is scheduled for August 28.
This grouping of parties has scheduled a meeting in Bamako, to be held today, August 11.
Meanwhile, the situation has worsened in the north. On August 9 in Ansongo, a man accused of cattle stealing had his right hand amputated by the Islamists in enforcement of the Sharia. In Gao another man accused of theft has had the suspension of the sentence as a result of an insurgent movement of the youth in the city.
The Islamists seem willing to enforce the Sharia in the region against the wishes of the population that appears helpless. On August 9, military experts of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) met in Bamako to study strategies to win back the region in the hands of Islamic groups since March 2012. The Church continues to pray for the early restoration of peace and social cohesion. Several activities to support and assist the displaced in northern regions are conducted by Caritas and the faithful of the diocese in the Country. In the consultations for the formation of new government, Mgr. Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako was received along with other religious leaders (Muslims and Protestants) from the President ad interim. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/8/2012)
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