In 1984, Thomas Sankara, a military officer, revolutionary activist and President of Burkina Faso, was elected as the President of CEAO, the Economic Community of West Africa. Under his administration the largest financial scandal in the organisations history broke out.

Mohammed Diawara, the Ivoirian minister of Planning, was charged for embezzling 6.5 billion dollars of CEAO funds marked for famine relief. Sankara declared it was time 'to clean house' and put him on trial before a Popular Revolutionary Tribunal in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkino Faso. He was convicted and imprisoned.

The Malian elite were incensed and their President, Moussa Troare, was said to be furious. This eventually led to Troare provoking a senseless border war with Burkino Faso in late 1985.

Q. Whilst Mali and the Ivory Coast share a border, they are separate countries. Why then were the Malian elite, and in particular, the Malian President,enraged by the arrest of an official of the government of the Ivory Coast?

  • Some background thomassankara.net/…
    – James K
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 0:48
  • More background search.proquest.com/openview/e772a00092ab52f3940b21a044d14c57/…
    – James K
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 0:52
  • While I really enjoyed researching the history of W. Africa (something that isn't often taught at school!) I hope that I'm not just repeating what is obvious in my answer. If you have done research on this already it would help if you linked to the sources (like the two I mentioned in comments) It is good to know what you have already read to avoid answers that merely repeat what you already have found out.
    – James K
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 20:04
  • @JamesK: My research is in the background of my question. Moreover, the question was on what the sources didn't make explicit. Thus if an answer sticks to answering the question rather than beating about the bush then they're unlikely to repeat what I already know. Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 20:54
  • Yes. But please read How to Ask. Including sources to what you already know gets you better answers! If we don't know the sources, how are we to know what they do and don't make explicit. However I hope you'll agree that my answer below doesn't beat around any bushes.
    – James K
    Commented Apr 18, 2021 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


Because the Malian President and his wife were personally implicated in the affair.

Mariam Traoré was herself a prominent businesswoman and had extensive financial dealings with the "Bank of Africa-Mali" which had been set up by Diawara, with funds taken from the Communaute Economique De L'afrique De L'ouest.

So the arrest and imprisonment of Diawara was not only an extraterritorial act, it was an attack on the business associates (and probably personal friend) of the Traoré family. And hence an attack and insult to the Malian President himself. And thus he was enraged.

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