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World: Influential Mali imam delivers rare rebuke to army strongman

Twenty-five civilians killed in Niger's lawless west

  Twenty-five civilians killed in Niger's lawless west Suspected jihadists killed 25 civilians in Niger in a lawless desert region near the border with Mali, local officials said on Wednesday. An interior ministry statement said the attack on Tuesday in the town of Bakorat in the vast Tahoua desert region bordering Mali had killed 25 people, wounded one more, and scorched two vehicles. In another attack on Temaram in the same region, "unidentified armed individuals" also ransacked the town hall and a health centre, and plundered two money transfer shops, the ministry added.It said a security sweep was ongoing in those areas.

An influential Malian imam, who spearheaded mass anti-government protests last year, warned Sunday that "things are not going well" in the Sahel state, delivering a rare rebuke to strongman Colonel Assimi Goita.

Imam Mahmoud Dicko on Sunday: 'I wanted to speak out, to say that things are not going well' © ANNIE RISEMBERG Imam Mahmoud Dicko on Sunday: 'I wanted to speak out, to say that things are not going well'

Mahmoud Dicko, a Saudi-trained imam, was viewed as the figurehead of the wave of protests in 2020 against president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, which culminated in his ouster in a military coup.

Mali has since been mired in turmoil, with coup leader Goita drawing broad condemnation for deposing the civilian rulers of an interim administration in May -- in a second putsch.

Mali: Blinken warned Mali and the Wagner Group against any cooperation

 Mali: Blinken warned Mali and the Wagner Group against any cooperation USA-Africa-Diplomacy: Mali: Blinken warns Mali and the Wagner group against any cooperation © Reuters / Pool Mali: Blinken puts in Guard the Mali and the Wagner Group against any cooperation by Bate Felix Dakar (Reuters) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken worried Saturday of instability in Mali and warned the Russian private security group Wagner against any attempt to interference. The leader of American diplomacy was in Senegal, last stage of his African tour.

The 37-year-old strongman also survived an assassination attempt in July, and is facing international pressure to restore civilian rule.

Dicko, who had kept a low public profile since last year's protests, told a news conference in the capital Bamako on Sunday that he felt urged to address the situation.


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"I wanted to speak out, to say that things are not going well," he said, explaining that Goita had declined an audience with him.

"We're not getting along together, nor with the rest of the world," Dicko added, saying that the "country's current isolation cannot continue".

The imam stressed, however, that he was not calling for fresh protests.

Mali is facing international pressure to swiftly stage elections, including from the regional bloc ECOWAS and the United Nations.

But Goita's government has refused to be drawn on a date, with his prime minister arguing that security takes priority over elections.

Swathes of Mali lie outside of government control because of a jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the north in 2012, before spreading to the centre of the country, as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

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Mali: at least thirty civilians killed in an attack in the center of the country .
© AFP - Kassim Traore displaced gather in Koro, in the center of Mali, after a jihadist attack, before returning to their villages in country Dogon, June 17, 2019. (picture of illustration) This is a new attack on civilians that took place, Friday, December 3, in the center of the country. Armed men, alleged jihadists, stumbled a bus and pulled on passengers. The attack occurred near the locality of Bandiagara, in the Mopti region, in the center of the country.

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