The country has seen clashes between the Malian army and a group fighting for independence, as well as jihadist insurgencies led by groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Mali has also suffered inter-communal violence. The fighting has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.
The violence has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Sr. Gloria Cecilia Narváez Argoti, a member of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate who was kidnapped in southern Mali in 2017, is believed to be in the hands of jihadists linked to al-Qaeda.
Mali is currently under the leadership of Colonel Assimi Goïta who has led two coups in a span of nine months, first ousting the country’s elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta last August and, in May, the interim leaders who were to head the country’s transitional government.
Following the May 24 coup, Mali’s constitutional court named Goïta as transitional president until the country holds elections.
The move has attracted criticism, with Catholic leaders calling it a “seizure of power outside the legal process.”
A version of this story was first published by ACI Africa, CNA's African news partner, written by Jude Atemanke. It has been adapted by CNA.