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Pope and president of Mali discuss Jihadist terrorism in Sahel


This was the beginning of the meeting between Pope Francis and Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, president of the Republic of Mali. The African politician told the pope it was an honor to meet him, not only for him, but for all the people of Mali.

Their meeting was very friendly, with a good mix of both jokes and serious conversation. The two leaders discussed the humanitarian situation provoked by Jihadist violence in the Sahel. In 2019 alone, over 450 civilians were killed in Mali by extremist groups. The situation took the entire region to the brink of starvation.

Boubacar Keïta was accompanied by his family and a government delegation.

He gave Pope Francis this traditional gift made by Malian mothers. The president thanked the pope for his concern for Mali.

“We feel that you are with Mali.”
“Thank you very much.”

The pope gave the president a medallion depicting St. Martin de Porres giving his cloak to a poor man. Pope Francis also gave him a collection of some of the most important documents from his pontificate. To top off the friendly meeting, the pope made this final joke.

“We'll have to tell the press we spoke in Latin.”

Pope Francis said goodbye to the president, calling him “my brother,” and asking for his prayers.


Ángeles Conde