Mali financial union extends strike over leader’s detention

A financial workers’ union in Mali has extended its strike.

The National Union of Banks, Insurance Companies, Financial Institutions, and Businesses of Mali (SYNABEF) urged employees of banks, insurance firms, micro-finance institutions, and petrol stations to continue their strike until their secretary-general, Hamadoun Bah, is released from detention.

Initially, SYNABEF’s strike lasted from Thursday to Saturday following Bah’s arrest on Wednesday.

The union announced the extension in a new statement, stating, “SYNABEF decides to continue the work stoppage from June 9, 2024, until the full release of our comrade.”

According to SYNABEF’s former secretary-general, Aguibou Bouare, Bah was arrested after a bank union committee member filed a complaint accusing him of document forgery related to an internal union matter. Bouare visited Bah in prison and reported the details of his arrest.

In a related development, the Synergy of Action for Mali, a coalition of political parties and associations, has called for protests against the rising cost of living and ongoing electricity cuts.

Since the 2020 coup, Mali has been under military rule, and tensions have increased due to delays in organizing promised elections and the government’s attempts to restrict political and civic activities.

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