Mali’s Keita affirms abducted opposition leader Soumaila Cisse is alive

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Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Tuesday has said leading opposition leader Soumaila Cisse, who was kidnapped days before the country’s parliamentary election in March by some gunmen on March 25 while he was campaigning in the restive Timbuktu region ahead of the May 29 vote.
Keita delivered in his speech on Tuesday that the government had proof that Cisse was still alive after months in captivity.
In his statement, he said “We know who his captors are,” he said, without elaborating. “And if it pleases God, he will come back soon.”
Last month, Cisse’s family affirmed that the government was “moving too slow” in securing the release of the 70-year-old, the runner-up in a 2018 presidential election and president of the Union for the Republic and Democracy party.
Separately on Tuesday, Keita said he would hold talks on establishing a new unity government, after weeks of escalating criticism over the several crises besetting the country, including the worsening security situation.
Economic stagnation, faltering public services and a widespread perception of corrupt governance have also fed opposition to the president.
Earlier On June 5, tens of thousands of people rallied in Bamako, demanding Keita’s resignation over his perceived mismanagement of the country.
That protest was organised by a coalition of political opposition groups, which has since rebranded itself the “June 5” movement.
The rally also followed sporadic demonstrations last month over the outcome of the parliamentary elections, which Keita’s party won, as well as over coronavirus restrictions.
On Tuesday, Keita said he would begin consultations for the formation of a government of national. Africa-News reports.

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