Malian Influencer Jailed for Criticising Military Junta’s Failure to End Insurgency, High Cost of Living

Rokia Doumbia, a Malian influencer was sent to a one-year prison term for berating the military administration’s failure to tackle multifaceted violence and the high cost of living in the Sahel country.

An influential Malian woman was sentenced on Wednesday to a year’s imprisonment after speaking out against the ruling military and its “failure” to deal with insecurity and inflation

Her lawyer, Kassoum Tapo, told AFP by telephone that the influencer was also asked to pay a fine of one million Francs cfa. “We have appealed,” Tapo, told AFP.

This comes as ousting of civilian governments gains momentum in the Sahel. The recent scenario came up Republic of Niger where military had seized power from President Mohamed Bazoum.

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Under the colonial regime that has been in power in Mali since 2020, it is difficult for dissenting voices to make themselves heard without the risk of being worried. This Sahelian country is confronted with multifaceted violence, including jihadist attacks, according to Africanews

Doumbia was charged with “insulting the Head of State”, “inciting revolt” and “disturbing public order through the use of information and communication technologies”.

AFP reported the influencer, in March, launched a live message on TikTok addressed to the head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, before being imprisoned.

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“This transition is a failure with 0% (of results). I wouldn’t even give 1%, but 0%”, she had declared, referring to the period of the military government that was supposed to precede the return, announced for 2024, of civilians at the head of the country.

“No Malian lives in peace”, she added, even though the authorities regularly claim to have regained the initiative against the jihadists. “Insecurity is gaining ground everywhere,” she said.

A person close to Doumbia, who spoke on condition of anonymity like many of her interlocutors, said that she had been reported to the authorities by the Collectif pour la défense des militaires (CDM). Appeals from this organization, one of the junta’s most offensive supporters, are often followed up.


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