Imam Mahmoud Dicko, a great Malian figure, attacked, Thursday, May 26, the “arrogance” of the soldiers who run the country and the “pride” of the international community at a time when one and the other are arm wrestling. Such criticism of the ruling junta has become exceptional from such an eminent national figure. The influential cleric, who was speaking at a discussion forum in progress until Saturday in Bamako, himself joked about the possibility that his remarks will earn him being arrested at the exit.

He was speaking as the junta faces pressure from part of the international community to return control of the country in crisis to elected civilians, after having revoked its initial commitment to do so in February 2022. The people of Mali is “held hostage” between the two and is “dying slowly” under the effect of the jihadist spread and shortages caused in particular by international sanctions, said Imam Dicko.

“That’s why I spoke about the arrogance of our leaders. I will say it here, I can go out, they will challenge me, but I will say it: their arrogance and the pride of the international community, it is the Malian people who are paying for this, he said. hammered. It is extremely serious: a moribund political class, which does not move, which no longer exists, a civil society which has ceased to exist, it must be said, and we are tossed about, the people, between people who want an indefinite transition [and] principled people. »

An ECOWAS summit on June 4

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) inflicted strong retaliatory measures on Mali in January to sanction the junta’s plan to stay in power for up to five more years. The junta reduced its claims to twenty-four months for the time being. Negotiations are still ongoing and ECOWAS leaders are due to hold a summit on Mali and other issues on June 4 in Accra.

Mahmoud Dicko had not publicly signaled himself with such remarks for some time. He had been the tutelary figure of the protest against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta until the latter was overthrown on August 18, 2020 by the soldiers still in power today.