International arrest warrant issued for son of ex-president Mali

Interpol on Monday issued an international arrest warrant for Karim Keita, a son of former Mali president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, over the disappearance of an investigative journalist in 2016, legal sources said.

The red notice for Keita, himself a former influential lawmaker, was issued at the request of an investigating magistrate in the Malian capital Bamako, said a source close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The news of the order was confirmed by a source within Interpol’s Mali office, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Keita has lived in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, since the military coup that overthrew his father in August 2020.

In the months before his disappearance, investigative journalist Birama Toure worked for the Bamako weekly Le Sphinx.

He has not been seen since January 29, 2016, according to his family and the magazine’s director, Adama Drame.

Drame said Toure had been working on a story that would have damaged Keita’s reputation and approached him about it when he disappeared.

Drame and Toure’s family suspect he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered after several months in detention.

Keita himself has always denied any role in Toure’s disappearance, and in 2019 filed a defamation lawsuit against the magazine’s director and a radio journalist over the allegations.

Mali’s courts have dropped the case for technical reasons, but Drame himself, fearing for his safety, is now being exiled to France.

For many Malians, Karim Keita personified what they believed to be the corruption at the heart of his father’s regime.

He escaped arrest by the military when they overthrew his father on August 18, 2020 and appeared in Côte d’Ivoire a few days later.


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