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Interpol seeks arrest of son of Mali ex-president

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 11, 2018 Chairman of the Security and Defence Commission of the National Assembly Karim Keita attends the presentation of four new turboprop light attack aircrafts “Super Tucano” at the military air base in Bamako. – Interpol issued, on July 5, 2021 an international arrest warrant for Karim Keita, one of the sons of former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a journalist in 2016, AFP learned from a Malian judicial source and from Interpol in Mali.<br />The “red notice” of Interpol was distributed at the request of an investigating judge of the tribunal de grande instance of commune IV of Bamako, the capital, said a source close to the investigation speaking under the on condition of anonymity. The information was confirmed to AFP by an official of the Interpol representative office in Mali who also requested anonymity. (Photo by Michele CATTANI / AFP)


Interpol issued an international arrest warrant Monday for Karim Keita, a son of Mali’s former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, over the 2016 disappearance of an investigative journalist, 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 speaking on condition of anonymity.

News of the warrant was confirmed by a source inside Interpol’s Mali office, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

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

Investigative journalist Birama Toure had been working for the Bamako weekly Le Sphinx in the months before his disappearance.

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

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

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

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

The courts in Mali threw out the case for technical reasons, but Drame himself, fearing for his safety, is now exiled in France.

For many Malians, Karim Keita personified what they say was 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, appearing in Ivory Coast a few days later.

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