Five west African leaders gathered in Mali on Thursday to address the country’s escalating political crisis.
The presidents of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Niger met with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita over rising concerns about Malian protesters demanding Keita’s resignation.
Demonstrators believe that Keita has done a poor job managing the west African country’s economy, corruption, and eight-year jihadist revolts in Northern and Central Mali.
Tensions between Keita and protesters rose in April, when 31 results from the parliamentary elections were tossed out by Mali’s constitutional court, giving Keita’s party increased power.
These tensions became a crisis on June 5, when protesters blocked bridges in the capital Bamako and attacked a state broadcaster and the parliament.
Similar clashes occurred between protesters and Mali security for three days, leaving 11 dead and 158 injured.
Mali’s allies and neighbors worry that the protester’s unrest might lead to the increased spread of a jihadist insurgency that has already gained a foothold in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
The West African leaders will discuss proposed compromises between President Keita and opposition leaders that could satisfy protesters demands without Keita’s resignation.