The Sudanese Republic and Senegal became independent of France in 1960 as the Mali Federation. When Senegal withdrew after only a few months, what formerly made up the Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali. Rule by dictatorship was brought to a close in 1991 by a military coup that ushered in a period of democratic rule. President Alpha KONARE won Mali’s first two democratic presidential elections in 1992 and 1997. In keeping with Mali’s two-term constitutional limit, he stepped down in 2002 and was succeeded by Amadou TOURE, who was elected to a second term in 2007 elections that were widely judged to be free and fair.
A military coup overthrew the government in March 2012, claiming that the government had not adequately supported the Malian army’s fight against an advancing Tuareg-led rebellion in the north. Heavy international pressure forced coup leaders to accelerate the transition back to democratic rule and, to that end, Dioncounda TRAORE was installed as interim president on 12 April 2012.
The Saharan branch of al-Qaeda was quick to move into this increasingly lawless area, and seized control of the Tuareg north after the March 2012 military coup, effectively seceding from the rest of Mali and establishing a harsh form of Islamic law.
Population: 15,494,466 (July 2012 est.)
Ethnic groups: Mande 50% (Bambara, Malinke, Soninke), Peul 17%, Voltaic 12%, Songhai 6%, Tuareg and Moor 10%, other 5%
Languages: French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
Religion: Islam came to west Africa in the 11th century and remains the predominant religion in most countries in that region. An estimated 90% of Malians are Muslim (mostly Sunni and Sufi), approximately 1% – 5% are Christian (about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant) and the remainder adhere to indigenous or traditional animist beliefs. Atheism and agnosticism are believed to be rare among Malians, most of whom practice their religion on a daily basis. Islam as practiced in Mali is moderate, tolerant, and adapted to local conditions; relations between Muslims and practitioners of minority religious faiths are generally amicable. The constitution establishes a secular state and provides for freedom of religion, and the government largely respects this right.
BBC report 24th October – Foreign fighters have arrived in a town in northern Mali, Gao’s exiled mayor has told the BBC, confirming reports of an influx of jihadists to the north. Sadou Diallo said between 60 and 100 Algerians and Sahrawis had come into the town about four or five days ago. A resident in Timbuktu told the AFP news agency on Monday that Sudanese Islamists had arrived over the weekend. Plans are under way for military intervention after Islamists took over northern Mali earlier this year. Two weeks ago, the UN Security Council gave the regional bloc Ecowas 45 days to draw up a plan with the details of its offer to send 3,000 troops to the vast desert region.
Mr Diallo, Gao’s elected mayor who was speaking from the capital, Bamako, said that the Islamist group controlling the town – the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) – had also recruited 200 students from local Koranic schools. “There is a radical Muslim sect in surrounding villages and all young people from the Koranic schools in the area have joined Mujao… not because they support the group, but because they’ve lost hope after seven months of suffering, they’re unemployed; they can’t resist,” he added. He said Mujao paid them between $300 (about £190) and $400 a month.
Living conditions: Infant mortality: total: 109.08 deaths/1,000 live births. male: 115.85 deaths/1,000 live births female: 102.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.) country comparison to the world:3.
Life expectancy: total population: 53.06 years male: 51.43 years, female: 54.73 years (2012 est.) country comparison to the world: 207
36% live below the poverty line and 30% are unemployed.
Government: Democratic Republic.
Executive: chief of state: [Interim] President Dioncounda TRAORE (since 12 April 2012)
note: in the aftermath of the March 2012 coup, deposed President TOURE, in a brokered deal, resigned to facilitate the naming of an interim president and transition back toward democratic rule
head of government: [Interim] Prime Minister Cheick Modibo DIARRA (since 17 April 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
Legislative: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (147 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
- For the overthrow of the Islamists.
- For the people to understand the hopelessness of their faith and be open to the gospel.
- For entry for CPM.
- For workers for the harvest field.
- For God’s mercy and grace on the nation.
Geographical position of Mali.