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Mali crisis: Buhari’s meeting with other leaders ends in stalemate

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The truce-seeking trip of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the Malian capital of Bamako on Thursday ended without a deal to soothe the country’s escalating political crisis.

In Bamako with Buhari on Thursday were former President Goodluck Jonathan as well as Presidents Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast, Macky Sall of Senegal, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and the host, Ibrahim Keita of Mali.

The West African leaders had gathered to find a solution to the worsening political crisis in the Sahelian country.

But Buhari’s day-long meeting with the leaders ended in a stalemate as protest movements clamoured for the resignation of Keita amid a long-running jihadist insurgency that threatens to throw the country into chaos.

After the intervention failed to seal a deal, Issoufou, upon deliberation with his counterparts, said the Economic Community of West African States would hold a summit on Monday with the hope of reaching a compromise between the warring factions.

“Nothing has moved for the movement,” said one of the protest leaders, Imam Dicko, after holding talks with the presidents.

Earlier as the leaders arrived on Thursday morning, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the airport.

“We’re here to demand the Keita resignation and ensure our comrades who have been killed are not forgotten,” said Yaya Sylla, a young protester.

The June 5 Movement, named after the date when the protests began, has tapped into deep anger over Keita’s perceived failure to tackle the dire economy, corruption and the eight-year jihadist revolt.

Malians are also incensed at the disputed outcome of long-delayed parliamentary elections in March and April that handed victory to Keita’s party.

The summit came on the heels of a five-day mediation mission from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, which ended on Sunday without reconciling the two sides.

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