The Malian capital woke up to a military coup on Wednesday, and the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (known as IBK). Ismaël Wagué, military spokesman deputy chief of staff of the air force, affirmed that "all of Mali's international agreements would be respected and that a civilian political transition leading to elections would be implemented".
The Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), a coalition made up of religious actors, civil society and the opposition, admits that it is not surprised by the "act of force" initiated by the army and considers that this military initiative came "to finish [their] struggle". (See weekly article 947). Tens of thousands of people have been chanting their discontent every Friday since June 5, in the center of Bamako, the Malian capital where poverty rubs shoulders with opulence. Resentment against the ruling class is very strong and the demand for the resignation of the French-backed president was motivated by anger at growing inequalities, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, the shortage of social services and corruption.
While the French government has not made any public statement, it is actively intervening to ensure the defense of French imperialist interests, for the exploitation of resources, of markets, in this strategically important region.
Mali is the third largest producer of gold in Africa, also very rich in oil, France draws the majority of its uranium supplies there. In February Macron had announced a significant escalation of his intervention, increasing the number of French troops in "Operation Barkhane" from 4,500 to 5,100.This French intervention is accompanied by an increase in the number of ethnic massacres, extrajudicial executions and war crimes, pointed out by a recent Amnesty International report entitled "Human rights violations by the security forces in Sahel ". This report identifies at least 199 such incidents in just three months, between February and April 2020.
Struck by decades of capitalist policies and sustained corruption, the country is bankrupt. For 7 years and since the intervention of the French army, none of the causes of the disaster have been addressed. Worse still, the situation has worsened. In its latest newspaper the Malian Communist Party denounces: “France is linked with Africa for the sole benefit of Western capitalism. Only insane intellectuals and sleeping people still believe that France and its friends are in Mali to fight against terrorists and help the Malian state, when in reality, they are there to destroy the Malian state with the complicity of all the politicians of Mali and the leaders of ECOWAS. France and capitalism have exploited, plundered resources since 2013”.
The situation clearly shows that the interests of capital are irreconcilable with those of the peoples. The crisis facing this region can only have a political, economic and social solution, opening up a perspective of struggle and a change of society for the Malian people who must be able to choose their destiny, which implies the end of neo-colonial military operations.