Entertainment Mali: behind the scenes of the release of the hostages, tough negotiations

11:25  10 october  2020
11:25  10 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

Mali. The junta makes a sizeable concession for a lifting of sanctions

 Mali. The junta makes a sizeable concession for a lifting of sanctions © MICHELE CATTANI / AFP Members of the junta, September 22 in Bamako. The military junta which took power in Mali gives up a major prerogative devolved on their leader in the transition supposed to bring civilians back to the head of the country. This could lead to a lifting of sanctions by the Community of West African States.

Negotiations to free the hostages began in April, a little less than a month after prominent Malian politician Soumalia Cissé was kidnapped, Nasr said. The hostages were freed in exchange for the release of nearly 200 jihadist prisoners who had been held by Malian authorities.

The US said the attack had ended. There is no confirmation from the Malian authorities. Pictures showed some of the hostages leaving the hotel were wounded; earlier, the interior minister said The claim by an obscure Saharan jihadist group allied to al-Qaeda that they were behind the attack is a

Sophie Pétronin et Soumaïla Cissé, le chef de l'opposition malienne, sont accueillis à leur arrivée de l'aéroport international de Modibo Keita de Bamako, le 8 octobre 2020. © Michele Cattani / AFP Sophie Pétronin and Soumaïla Cissé, the leader of the Malian opposition, are greeted on their arrival from Modibo international airport Keita from Bamako, October 8, 2020.

The release Thursday evening of the four hostages in Mali, Soumaïla Cissé, Sophie Pétronin and the two Italians, Nicola Chiacchio and Father Pier Luigi Maccalli, took place after long and difficult negotiations with a long uncertain outcome. A ransom would have been paid and many jihadists were released by the Malian authorities. Back to what we know about the negotiations and the required compensation.

with our correspondent in Bamako, Serge Daniel

Mali frees over 100 jihadists seeking hostage swap

  Mali frees over 100 jihadists seeking hostage swap Insurgency-hit Mali has freed over 100 alleged or convicted jihadists to secure the release of a top politician and a French charity worker, sources close to the talks said Monday. This is a rare mass release of prisoners in the fragile West African country, which is struggling with an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives. Soumaila Cisse, a former opposition leader and three-time presidential candidate, was abducted on March 25 while campaigning in his home region of Niafounke ahead of legislative elections.Sophie Petronin, a French charity worker, was abducted by gunmen on December 24, 2016, in the northern city of Gao.

Stratfor Vice Presidents Fred Burton and Mark Schroeder discuss the terrorist attack in Mali and its similarities to last week's shootings in Paris. My Collections - your personal library of Stratfor insights saved for later reading. Discounts to our long-form reports on the Stratfor Store.

Malian special forces have entered the Radisson Blu Hotel in the capital, Bamako, to try to free hostages taken after it was stormed by gunmen. The US Department of Defense told the BBC that US special forces were "currently assisting hostage recovery efforts". A US official said around 25

On April 5, a few days after the kidnapping of Soumaïla Cissé, the Prime Minister of the time Boubou Cissé on paper with at the head of the prime minister, issues a mandate to a man businessmen to lead the steps for the release of the opponent.

To read also : " It's a rebirth for me " says Soumaïla Cissé

Very quickly contact is established. The kidnappers of the jihadist group of Iyad Ag Ghaly accept drugs intended for the Malian politician, give proof of life and put in writing two conditions to release him. First condition, the release of jihadist prisoners held in Mali and, second condition, the payment of a ransom of 2 million euros.

Discussions are continuing but in the meantime the negotiating line is withdrawn and the case is entrusted to the special services of Mali which appoint another mediator ... And there the then Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, also asks for the release of the French hostage Sophie Pétroni n through the same channel. Long negotiations ensued, as the request for the release of two Italian hostages was added to the list.

Mali: ECOWAS lifts the sanctions imposed since the coup of August 18

 Mali: ECOWAS lifts the sanctions imposed since the coup of August 18 © REUTERS / Luc Gnago View of Bamako, the capital of Mali, August 9, 2018. The embargo is over which weighed on Mali since the coup d'état of August 18 against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. The community of West African states has therefore announced the lifting of sanctions. With our correspondent in Bamako, Serge Daniel The declaration of the heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States on Mali was made public this Tuesday in the late morning.

The first job of the hostage negotiator is to assure safety. When they arrive on the scene , there may be armed police, high emotion and general confusion in which hostages may get hurt. Their immediate task is to get a swift briefing from the officer in charge and to ensure that any actions by the police do

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Finally last weekend at least 200 jihadist prisoners or suspected such are released. Among them, about twenty "large caliber". A Malian prison source remembers that as part of an investigation, a few months ago, the "human rights" division of the UN mission in Mali visited them in prison. But at the last moment a grain of sand arose, blocking the process. The kidnappers are demanding further releases. Request accepted ... A ransom was reportedly paid and the hostages were finally released.

See also : The release of hostages, a political success for the new Malian power?

Counterparts which raise questions in France

The release of 200 jihahists last weekend, can pose a problem according to Christian Cambon, the president of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Defense of the Senate. Especially for the soldiers of Barkhane. Christian Cambon, reached by phone by Pierre Firtion from the Africa service of RFI.

French, Italian captives freed with top politician in Mali

  French, Italian captives freed with top politician in Mali Mali announced Thursday the release of an elderly French aid worker, two Italian captives and a top Malian politician, all believed to have been held by jihadists. French President Emmanuel Macron immediately voiced "immense relief" at the release of the worker, the last French hostage in the world, and expressed France's continued support for Mali in its fight against an Islamist insurgency. Mali's presidency said in a tweet on Thursday that Frenchwoman Sophie Petronin, 75, and Soumaila Cisse, 70, were on their way to the capital Bamako.

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The Taliban have refused to negotiate with Mr. Ghani’s government until the United States reaches a troop withdrawal deal with the insurgency. Mr. Ghani, who called the swap a “ tough but important” decision, has emphasized that the release of the Western hostages was required as a show of good

"If the junta currently in power organized this exchange in the direction of national reconciliation, this can be understood in the sense that, each time an internal conflict ends which has led to many tragedies, a lot of blood, There are always exchanges of prisoners, releases on both sides, that is understandable.

If unfortunately this were not the case, and this is where my concern lies, that would mean that, among the 100 or 200 - we do not yet know exactly how many prisoners have been released - and within of which there are absolutely four or five terrorists who have signed appalling blood crimes - if there is no counterpart of peace and appeasement and if it is simply the counterpart of these four releases, obviously, that poses a problem. And if that was the bargaining, it would have been a particularly perilous and dangerous bargain for us. "

Hostages in Mali: a success of the jihadists with incalculable fallout .
© STRINGER The former hostage Sophie Pétronin, with her son Sébastien Chadaud-Pétronin in Bamako, October 8, 2020 First of all, a certainty: it is the jihadist alliance in the Sahel linked to Al-Qaeda, which emerges victorious from the exchange in Mali of 200 detainees against four hostages.

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