Mali prime minister’s ally Boubacar Traore faces trial in July

A close associate of Mali’s civilian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga has been detained and is set to stand trial in July, as per a judicial source on Tuesday.

The arrest follows the vocal criticism from their political movement towards the country’s military rulers.

The M5-RFP movement, in a recent statement, openly denounced the colonels who seized power in 2020 and prolonged their governance beyond a March deadline for elections and the transition to a civilian administration.

Boubacar Traore, a signatory to the statement, was apprehended on Monday.

According to a member of his inner circle, Traore was taken from his office within the prime minister’s service building by intelligence agents.

“He has been remanded in custody for damaging the state, contempt of court, disturbing public order, publishing lies…” by a Bamako court, revealed the unnamed source.

The trial for Traore is slated for July 1, as confirmed by the source.

The rift between the appointed prime minister and the military rulers intensified with the M5 statement, though AFP could not verify Maiga’s stance on the matter, given the factionalism within M5.

Traore had attributed the statement to the faction supporting Maiga, yet the prime minister has refrained from commenting.

This detention marks the second instance of a supporter of Maiga facing imprisonment, following Abdelkader Maiga’s two-year sentence for defamation in April.

As the military maintains a firm grip on power following a second coup in 2021, there’s ongoing speculation about Maiga’s potential replacement.

Under the military junta’s rule, no new timeline has been set for the transition of power.

Maiga, a prominent figure in the regime, had indicated that elections would only be organized once the security situation stabilizes completely in the country, which has been grappling with political and security turmoil since 2012, fueled by insurgent attacks, armed group activities, and a separatist movement in the north.

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