In Bamako, Imam Bandiougou Traoré was arrested on Thursday, January 4. Placed in pretrial detention, he spent his first night in prison. In a sermon, he had recently criticized “significant resources” used for organizing a festival in the city of Kayes “while the state of roads in the region deteriorates every day,” as reported by the local press. Bandiougou Traoré will be tried for “statements aiming to disturb public order.”
Numerous arrests of dissenting voices have occurred in Mali since the beginning of the transition, but the targeting of religious leaders is a more recent development. Last month, preacher Chouala Bayaya Haidara was incarcerated after making critical remarks. Additionally, in Mali, the transitional authorities received six new Turkish drones on Thursday. Presented during an official ceremony at Bamako airport, these drones have become a central tool in Malian military operations.