Message about Mali – February 1, 2013

Dear all,

Francois Hollande has now gained political ground in Europe over this war in Mali, as in a mere 20 days of fighting, things are slowly merging back to a so called “normal”. The French leader’s popularity in Mali itself has gone through the roof. Francois Hollande is expected to meet with the interim president of Mali, Djonkounda Traore, this coming Saturday in Bamako. Then he will pay a visit to the French troops in Timbuktu as well. So one can imagine how crazy streets in Bko and other cities will be on Saturday. This is also in conjunction with the soccer match of Mali against South Africa. I hope they take it easy over there……

Well folks, as I am writing this latest news to you at 5:30 am Portland time, I was interrupted with a phone call from Kofalen-Mali members Seydou and Dognoume, both warning not to go too fast with celebrations, as the mood of many people in the streets of Mali is taking a sudden turn. This is because after the Malian troops led the fight into Kidal, a stronghold of the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Awad islamic group), the French ordered the Malian troops to hold their fire and took control of the airport.  Now there is some sort of meeting or negotiation going on over a couple of French hostages that have not yet been found. But the real problem was not even a single Malian soldier was allowed to be near their meeting place. To the ordinary Malians that was already suspicious–this strong dictation by the French; they see this as a warning sign especially when MNLA is still holding onto their guns, intending to keep Kidal region as their own country of Azawad. I am not sure if you knew this but this whole fuss by the West is partly due to the discovery of oil in this particular Kidal region; as Malian people put it, “Kidal is the head of the goat, without it, the goat is no longer.”

Wagué and Dognoume

Wagué and Dognoume

It is now believed the MNLA will try to negotiate a settlement with France in an attempt to avoid having Kidal taken back by the Malian Army. And is the MNLA also brokering deals with the Islamic groups to keep them at bay, but functioning?  This exclusive negotiation with France is wholeheartedly unacceptable to the Malian citizenship, which is being kept in the dark for the most part.  But the West will most likely use its influence over the Mali government to dictate their terms.

Dognoume Diarra, writer for Ciwara and Le Flambeau newspapers in Bko and nephew Seydou Coulibaly, computer businessman (both Kofalen-Mali board members) are sure to keep us up to date with current news.  In fact, Dognoume wrote a great article about Kofalen Oregon/Mali. Now Stephen Wooten a Professor at the University of Oregon was the first to see it on internet and let me know. I am really proud of Dognoume Diarra–and Kofalen in helping guarantee his schooling in Soni Cegni as a boy–and now he is a journalist, writing articles for newspapers. There are many young people like Dognoume who started their education under our care in Soni Cegni and are now finishing their college education.

Seydou and friend Sali

Seydou and friend Sali

For French readers, you may link to D Diarra’s article on KoFalen here:

maliactu.net/long-ko-falen-cultural-center-centre-dechange-culturel-vole-au-secours-de-lecole-fondamentale-de-soninkegny?utm_medium=Maliactu&utm_source=Maliactu.net

Thank you all,
Baba Wague Diakite

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