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Former Malian foreign minister Moctar Ouane has been named prime minister by the country's president interim president Bah Ndaw, state television announced on September 27, 2020

Mali Announces New Interim Prime Minister Following Ongoing Protests

Mali has announced former Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane as the country's new interim Prime Minister.

Mali has reportedly announced former foreign minister Moctar Ouane as the country's new interim Prime Minister. This appointment follows two days after retired Colonel Bah Ndaw was sworn in as the country's president and coup leader Colonel Assimi Goita was sworn in as vice president. This government reformation is in response to ECOWAS blocking Mali from trade relations after the ousting of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August.


Read: Deep Dive: Protest Movements Across the Continent

Mali's challenges are varied. Mali has been experiencing eight years of civil unrest by a separatist group in the North region which is compounded by Jihadist insurgence. Four thousand people have been killed over the unrest since 2016 and millions have been displaced. The country has 18 months with a transitional government to set the ground for democratic rule. The ECOWAS bloc had demanded a civilian leader be installed as a condition for lifting the sanctions with the hope that Oune's appointment would lead to a smoother transition for the country.

Civil unrest in Mali gained momentum after Keita's dissolution of Mali's Constitution in March of this year. Protests by Malians calling for Keita's resignation began shortly after. The country started public demonstrations on June 5th and they increasingly became violent with 11 fatalities recorded in the July 10th anti-government demonstrations. Former Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan attempted an intervention with regional body ECOWAS with which Keita met. Despite the intervention and Keita complying with ECOWAS instructions, Mali's military gained public support. The army subsequently sieged Keita's house with military tanks and forced him to resign on August 18th.

A month after the forced resignation of Keita, ECOWAS sanctioned Mali putting pressure on the country to assemble a government body to meet conditions of lifting its sanctions. Oune, is a retired 64-year-old diplomat and has served as Mali's ambassador to the United Nations from 1995 to 2002, afterwards he assumed office as foreign minister from 2004 to 2011.

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#EndSARS: 1 Year Later And It's Business As Usual For The Nigerian Government

Thousands filled the streets of Nigeria to remember those slain in The #LekkiTollGateMassacre...while the government insists it didn't happen.

This week marks 1 year since Nigerians began protests against police brutality and demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The #EndSARS protests took the world by storm as we witnessed Nigerian forces abuse, harass and murder those fighting for a free nation. Reports of illegal detention, profiling, extortion, and extrajudicial killings followed the special task force's existence, forcing the government to demolish the unit on October 11th, 2020. However, protestors remained angered and desperate to be heard. It wasn't until October 20th, when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators at Lekki tollgate in the country's capital, Lagos, that the protests came to a fatal end. More than 56 deaths from across the country were reported, while hundreds more were traumatized as the Nigerian government continued to rule by force. The incident sparked global outrage as the Nigerian army refused to acknowledge or admit to firing shots at unarmed protesters in the dead of night.

It's a year later, and nothing has changed.

Young Nigerians claim to still face unnecessary and violent interactions with the police and none of the demands towards systemic changes have been met. Fisayo Soyombo the founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, told Al Jazeera, "Yes, there has not been any reform. Police brutality exists till today," while maintaining that his organization has reported "scores" of cases of police brutality over this past year.

During October 2020's protests, Nigerian authorities turned a blind eye and insisted that the youth-led movement was anti-government and intended to overthrow the administration of current President Muhammadu Buhari. During a press conference on Wednesday, in an attempt to discredit the protests, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed hailed the Nigerian army and police forces for the role they played in the #EndSARS protests, going as far as to say that the Lekki Toll Massacre was a "phantom massacre with no bodies." These brazen claims came while protesters continued to gather in several major cities across the country. The minister even went on to shame CNN, Nigerian favorite DJ Switch as well as Amnesty International, for reporting deaths at Lekki. Mohammed pushed even further by saying, "The six soldiers and 37 policemen who died during the EndSARS protests are human beings with families, even though the human rights organizations and CNN simply ignored their deaths, choosing instead to trumpet a phantom massacre."

With the reports of abuse still coming out of the West African nation, an end to the struggle is not in sight. During Wednesday's protest, a journalist for the Daily Post was detained by Nigerian forces while covering the demonstrations.

According to the BBC, additional police units have been set up in the place of SARS, though some resurfacing SARS officers and allies claim to still be around.

Young Nigerians relied heavily on social media during the protests and returned this year to voice their opinions around the first anniversary of an experience that few will be lucky enough to forget.



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