Some 18 Malian presidential candidates have called for a demonstration to take place in Bamako on Tuesday, August 7, to denounce alleged electoral fraud in the first round of the presidential election held on July 29. The demonstration will reportedly begin at 16:00 (local time) at the Palais de la Culture. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are expected near the protest site. Additional related protests are possible in Bamako over the coming days.
A total of 24 candidates participated in the first round of the election, with incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (in office since 2013) and opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé emerging as the two main contenders. A second-round vote is scheduled to take place on August 12 and is expected to face similar difficulties to those experienced during the July 29 election (e.g. violence, alleged intimidation, electoral fraud, etc.).
Many of Mali's security concerns are due to the presence of armed extremist groups, notably in the country's northern and central regions. These areas remain unstable despite the presence of MINUSMA, one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world, and a French-led intervention launched in 2013 that drove many extremists from their strongholds.
Individuals in Mali are advised to monitor the situation and avoid all political events and large public gatherings due to significant security concerns (e.g. unrest, risk of terrorist attack). The security environment in Mali remains complex, particularly in the north and central regions. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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