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Updated May 11, 2020

 

Soumaila Cisse
Malian Opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé greets supporters as he joins them in a march on September 15, 2018, in Bamako.

 

Amadou Kolossi, the mayor of the Malian city of Koumaïra and the chief negotiator for the safe return of kidnapped opposition leader Soumaïla Cissé, was freed on Sunday, May 10, more than a month after he was also abducted while negotiating with Cissé’s captors.

 

Cissé was abducted on March 25 while campaigning in the Timbuktu region.

 

Kolossi’s release is the latest development in a political drama that has gripped Malians since Cissé was abducted on March 25 while campaigning in the Timbuktu region, just days ahead of the first round of legislative elections. Since his disappearance, the only new information on Cissé’s condition and whereabouts was a statement from his party, the URD, that he was “doing well”. That statement came on the day five members of Cissé’s team abducted with him were freed, giving hope that negotiations between the kidnappers, the URD, and the government of Mali would lead to Cissé’s release.

Frustrations have been mounting, especially for the family of Soumaïla Cissé, who’ve said the federal government was moving too slowly in securing his release. The kidnapping of Soumaïla Cissé is set against a backdrop of persistent instability that has troubled Mali since 2012, with continued attacks by rebel and jihadist groups.

 

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