Malian gov’t seeks to arrest son of former President Keïta

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Karim Keita, the eldest son of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The red notice was issued at the request of Malian authorities who have been investigating Keita in a case concerning the disappearance of a journalist in 2016.

AFP was able to confirm the existence of the notice targeting Karim Keita, which did not appear on Interpol’s official website until Monday evening, thanks to an officer with the Interpol representative office in Mali who also requested anonymity.

Birama Touré, a Malian investigative journalist who worked for the Bamako-based weekly Le Sphinx, has vanished without a trace. The case is now under investigation. Many believe he was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered after being held for many months in custody without charge.

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Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta, Oct. 2018 in Bamako. | AFP

Earlier in 2018, the director of Le Sphinx stated that his ex-reporter had contacted Karim Keta regarding a file that he believed was incriminating for the president’s son. Karim Keta denied this allegation.

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Karim had filed a defamation lawsuit in 2019 against the director of the magazine and a journalist from a private radio station in Bamako, claiming that the Sphinx had defamed him. The Sphinx had denied the allegations. Although the Malian judicial system found this defamation suit acceptable for procedural grounds, the case was dismissed. Concerned about his personal safety, the director of Sphinx sought shelter in France.

During Colonel Assimi Gota’s coup d’état in August 2020, Karim Keta, the son of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, vanished off the radar. However, he reappeared a few days later in Ivory Coast and lived in his villa with his family since then. The new government is refusing to clarify whether he is free to go anywhere he wants.

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