As of 25 May 2021, the political situation within Mali remains uncertain following the events of 24 May, when military personnel in the capital Bamako arrested President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane following the appointment of several new government officials. The transitional government leaders are reportedly being held at a military base in the garrison town of Kati, located 15 km (9 mi) outside of Bamako. The move mirrors the August 2020 military coup in which soldiers led by several high-ranking military officials — including current Vice President Assimi Goita, who is also the leader of the new military junta — arrested then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and then-Prime Minster Boubou Cissé. On 25 May, Goita stated that the interim administration violated the transitional charter and forced the military to once again seize power. He further stated that the existing transitional charter will remain in place.
Protest activity remains likely following the political upheaval. For example, reports indicate that demonstrators blocked all of the exit posts out of Ansongo, a rural commune and small town in the eastern Gao region, on 24 May. While details regarding the current state of political affairs remain unclear, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Security Alert regarding an increase in military activity in the city and urged U.S. citizens to avoid nonessential travel inside the city; the full text of the alert is available here.
The interim government — largely composed of a military junta that seized power during the August 2020 military coup — was expected to hold power for a period of 18 months. Under the transitional charter, a referendum on a new constitution is scheduled to occur on 31 October 2021, while local elections are scheduled for 26 December and presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for 27 February 2022. The arrests were made shortly after two senior members of the Cabinet – Col. Modibo Kone and Col. Sadio Camara — were forced to cede their positions as security civil protection minister and defense minister, respectively. According to a joint statement by several key international actors that condemned the ongoing coup activity, an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation is expected to visit Bamako on 25 May to assess the situation. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINSUMA) is also closely monitoring the situation.