1. Mali migrants die at sea off Libyan coast

    Mike Thomson

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    Twenty-two migrants from Mali, including three children, have died after their boat got into difficulties off the Libyan coast.

    The Malian government said they were part of a group of more than 80 migrants who had been stuck on their distressed vessel for much of the last two weeks.

    Sixty-one people were rescued from the boat with the help of the United Nations' migration agency.

    A spokesperson for the agency said there has been a "significant increase" in migrant flows through Niger and Mali towards North Africa in the first quarter of this year.

  2. Egyptian peacekeepers die in Mali roadside bomb

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The UN mission in Mali says two Egyptian peacekeepers have been killed and five others seriously injured when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in the north of the country.

    The UN mission (Minusma) said the attack between Tessalit and Gao may constitute a war crime.

    It said mines and improvised explosive devices planted by jihadist fighters affected UN personnel, the Malian military and civilians without distinction.

    View more on twitter

    The peacekeeping force is one of the UN's largest and is one of the most dangerous missions.

    Over the last decade more than 170 troops have been killed.

    Last month the UN Security Council extended the force's mandate by a year.

    There is concern that the peacekeepers may be more vulnerable without French air support following France's decision to withdraw from Mali after falling out with the military leaders who carried out two coups.

  3. West African Ecowas leaders lift sanctions on Mali

    BBC World Service

    The ECOWAS summit in Accra, Ghana

    West African leaders have announced the lifting of sanctions against the military regime in Mali.

    The heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, accepted a proposal by the Malian military to hold elections and return to civilian rule by March 2024.

    The bloc had imposed crippling economic sanctions after army officers staged two coups in less than a year in August 2020 and May 2021.

    It also accepted a two-year timetable for the restoration of democracy in Burkina Faso, but told Guinea, a third country which has witnessed a military takeover, it would face economic sanctions unless it could speed up its proposed three-year transition back to democracy.

    More on this topic:

  4. Mali schedules presidential poll for February 2024

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Malian soldiers in Bamako
    Image caption: The Malian junta unilaterally announced this month that the transitional period had been set for 24 months

    Mali’s military authorities have announced that a presidential election to usher in civilian rule will be held in February 2024.

    The announcement was made after a detailed timetable for reforms and legislative and presidential polls was adopted following consultations between the interim government and political stakeholders on Tuesday.

    The first and second rounds of the presidential election are scheduled to take place in two years time.

    The first and second rounds of the legislative elections will be held in October and November 2023, respectively.

    A constitutional referendum will also be held in March 2023, ahead of local elections scheduled for June 2023.

    On 6 June, the junta unilaterally announced that the transitional period had been set for 24 months.

    The poll timetable was released ahead of a summit of the Economic Community of West African States, which is expected to make a decision on whether to lift or extend sanctions it imposed on Mali in January.

  5. More than 130 civilians killed by jihadists in Mali

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Malian army
    Image caption: Mali has been battling a decade-long insurgency

    More than 130 civilians were killed by jihadists in three neighbouring towns over the weekend, the government in Mali says.

    It blamed a group called Macina Katiba, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda, for the attacks in Diallassagou and two other localities in central Mali's Mopti region.

    In a separate jihadist attack on Saturday near the city of Gao, regional officials said at least least 20 civilians were killed.

    The country has been battling a decade-long insurgency that has affected millions of people, and has also engulfed other countries in the region.

  6. At least 20 killed in Mali jihadist attacks

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    At least 20 civilians have been killed in attacks blamed on jihadist fighters in northern Mali, a regional official there says.

    The violence on Saturday was near the city of Gao.

    The official told the French news agency that the situation was very worrying with many civilians fleeing as the Islamist militants carried out atrocities.

    The UN says the security situation in the Gao and Ménaka regions has deteriorated sharply.

    Earlier on Sunday a UN peacekeeper was killed by a mine in Kidal in the north.

  7. US issues Mali terror alert after deadly attack

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    The US embassy in Mali has issued an alert over a possible terror attack in the capital, Bamako, that could target key government facilities and public places.

    This is the third alert issued by the US embassy in Mali since March 2021.

    The latest advisory came days after 22 civilians were killed in Mali's northern Menaka region by suspected militants.

    Malian media reported that armed men who staged the attack were affiliated to the Islamic State group.

    Mali's military-led government heightened security in Bamako after militants killed six soldiers in the central Mopti region on 24 April.

    The rising insecurity in northern Mali has been attributed to the withdrawal of French forces from the country.

    More on this topic:

  8. Ecowas bloc regrets move to delay Mali transition

    Malian soldiers patrol with soldiers from the new Takuba force near Niger borde
    Image caption: The junta took power in 2020

    The West African regional bloc Ecowas says it regrets the Mali junta's decision to fix the length of the transition to civilian rule to two years, given negotiations are ongoing.

    It said its mediator would continue talks with the Malian authorities "with a view of reaching a mutually acceptable transitional agreement that will ensure Ecowas' support".

    On Monday, Mali’s junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goïta, signed a decree fixing the length of the transition period to 24 months starting from March this year.

    The army initially seized power in 2020 and has been under international pressure to hold elections sooner - the junta had initially agreed to hold them in February this year.

    When Mali missed this deadline, Ecowas imposed stiff sanctions.

    Over the weekend, an Ecowas meeting decided to keep the measures in place but is due to meet by next month to review the progress.

  9. Mali junta decrees two-year delay before democracy

    Lalla Sy

    BBC News

    Transitional Malian President, Colonel Assimi Goïta (R) looks on after laying a wreath on the monument to the dead, during the ceremony celebrating the national day of the army, in Kati, on January 20, 2022.
    Image caption: The army initially seized power in 2020

    Mali's military leaders have confirmed there won't be a return to civilian rule for two years.

    The interim President, Colonel Assimi Goïta, has signed a decree fixing the length of the transition period.

    The army initially seized power in 2020 and has been under international pressure to hold elections sooner.

    Mali is struggling to deal with crippling sanctions imposed after it failed to hold a planned vote in February.

    Over the weekend, the West African regional grouping, Ecowas, decided to keep the measures in place.

    It will examine the situation again during its next extraordinary summit next month.

    The bloc had asked Mali to review its two-year transition period, considering 12 or 18 months to be reasonable.

  10. Mali ‘disappointed’ as Ecowas maintains sanctions

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A long line of truck carrying goods whose transport is not affected by the recent embargo imposed by Ecowas sanctions
    Image caption: Mali has been under sanctions imposed by the West African regional group Ecowas

    Mali has expressed disappointment at the decision by the West Africa regional group, Ecowas, to maintain crippling economic sanctions on the Sahel country.

    Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told state-owned ORTM that he hoped the Ecowas would revisit the issue at its summit next month.

    Ecowas deferred its decision on proposed transitional periods in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso to 3 July after its summit of heads of state in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday.

    French public radio RFI reported that Ecowas leaders had differed over the proposed transitional periods in the three countries.

    It reported that the traditional consensus was not reached between states over the 24 months of transition proposed by the Malian junta.

    Regarding Burkina Faso, Ecowas leaders rejected a proposed 36-month transition, which they have considered too long.

    Ecowas appointed former Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou as mediator for Burkina Faso.

    Ecowas also rejected a 36-month proposed transition in Guinea and gave the country a month to review its timetable.

  11. Ecowas puts off decision on what to do about juntas

    Rhoda Odhiambo

    BBC News

    Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba
    Image caption: In Burkina Faso, Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba was sworn in for a three-year term in March

    The West African bloc, Ecowas, has postponed making a decision on Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso after its leaders failed to agree on what action to take against the military juntas in each of those three countries.

    The region's leaders, however, said they were concerned with the countries' deteriorating political and security situations.

    Ecowas suspended Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso after military takeovers.

    The bloc imposed economic sanctions on Mali after officers staged two coups in less than a year. It threatened harsh measures against both Guinea and Burkina Faso whose military rulers have proposed to remain in power for three years.

    Meanwhile, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari urged the bloc to consider people living in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea who, he said, were victims of unconstitutional changes of government and its consequences.

    Mr Buhari said he was concerned that since the last summit held on 25 March, not much has been achieved on finding an acceptable transitional plan in each of the three countries.

    A UN report published last week said the West African sanctions had contributed to worsening living conditions, particularly for low-income residents.

  12. Video content

    Video caption: Guinness World Record Malian nonuplets are "in perfect health"

    The world's only nonuplets - nine babies born at the same time - are "in perfect health" says their mother Halima Cissé.

  13. UN peacekeeper killed in Mali attack

    BBC World Service

    The United Nations mission in Mali, Minusma, says one of its peacekeepers has been killed.

    A convoy carrying a Jordanian contingent came under fire from small arms and rocket propelled grenades in the northern region of Kidal, it said.

    Three others were injured. It is not clear who carried out the attack but Minusma was created in 2013 to help defend the country against Islamist militants.

    The UN has lost more than 170 of its peacekeepers in Mali since then.

    A transitional military council is ruling the country after ousting the elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in 2020.

    Map of Mali
  14. Mali refutes UN report on alleged army killings

    BBC World Service

    A supporter of Malian Interim President Assimi Goita holds up his image during a pro-junta and pro-Russia rally in Bamako on May 13, 2022.
    Image caption: Mali has been at loggerheads with rights agencies over rising reports of abuses by the army

    Mali has denied allegations in a UN report that its national army (Fama) carried out human rights violations.

    A report by the country’s UN mission, Minusma, released last week highlighted alleged gross rights abuses by the Malian army between January and March this year.

    It attributed to Fama an "exponential rise" in abuses, including summary executions and forced disappearances, in its quarterly report on 26 May.

    On Wednesday Mali’s foreign affairs ministry issued a memo offering detailed rebuttals to various parts of the UN report.

    “These allegations are very often tedious, uncross-referenced, reported in non-contradictory ways, and not supported by any tangible evidence," it said.

    The ministry said the allegations were intended to" damage the image of the [defence and security forces] and to discredit it vis-a-vis the population and the international community”.

    Mali has been at loggerheads with rights agencies over rising reports of abuses by Fama and mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner paramilitary firm.

    Hundreds of civilians have reportedly been killed in joint Fama-Wagner counterinsurgency operations that began last December.

  15. Video content

    Video caption: Traore on 2005 Champions League final: 'I knew destiny was with us'

    The Malian defender was the first person from his country to be a member of Champions League winning team.

  16. Mali thwarts Western-backed coup attempt - junta

    Colonel Assimi Goita
    Image caption: The military rulers have been in power since August 2020

    Mali's military junta says it thwarted an attempted coup last week led by "Western-backed" soldiers.

    The alleged foiled coup took place on the night between 11 and 12 May, the junta said in a statement without providing evidence.

    The statement read out on state television on Monday said: "The attempt was thwarted thanks to the vigilance and professionalism of the defence and security forces."

    It did not give details of the alleged coup plotters' identity and whereabouts, but said they would be handed over to justice.

    The AFP news agency quoted a military source as saying that about 10 arrests were made.

    Mali's military has seized power twice since August 2020 when it ousted elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, and has been under pressure to return the country to democratic rule.

  17. Mali withdraws from regional Sahel force

    Nicolas Negoce

    BBC News

    Malian military personnel parade in front of the heads of the transitional government during a ceremony celebrating the army's national day, in Kati, on January 20, 2022.
    Image caption: The Malian junta has complained of a lack of progress in the fight against Islamists

    Mali is pulling out of a multinational military force fighting Islamist militants in West Africa's Sahel region.

    Mali said on Sunday that this was a protest against its rejection as head of the G5 regional group that also includes Mauritania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Niger.

    The statement by Mali's junta, which ousted former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in a 2020 coup, also blamed a lack of progress in the fight against the militants and the failure to hold recent meetings in Mali.

    The force was set up in 2017 to counter jihadists who have swept across the region in recent years, killing thousands of people and forcing millions to flee their homes.

    But it has been hobbled by a lack of funding and has struggled to reduce the violence.

    There has been no comment yet from other G5 members over Mali's announcement.

    Mali's withdrawal could further isolate the country whose economy has been hit by sanctions since the coup.

  18. Germany to boost its UN peacekeepers in Mali

    A German UN peacekeeper in Mali - archive shot
    Image caption: Germany will now be contributing 1,400 soldiers to the UN peacekeeping force in Mali

    Germany's government has said it will increase the number of German troops serving in the UN peacekeeping mission by 300 soldiers to 1,400.

    "This is intended to compensate for capacities previously undertaken by French forces," government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

    France has decided to withdraw its soldiers, which are not part of the UN force, after disagreements with Mali's military rulers.

    Germany's announcement comes a week after it said it would no longer take part in a European Union military training mission in Mali because of concerns that the soldiers it helps could then fight alongside Russian mercenaries who are suspected of atrocities.

    According to the Associated Press, this support and training will now be offered to Niger's government in its fight against Islamist militants.