Members of the Malian diaspora in Ottawa and Gatineau say Tuesday's military coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is a sign their homeland is now in the hands of its citizens, who can chart a new course for the nation that has endured years of instability.
But while some Malian-Canadians remain optimistic about Mali's future, leaders across Africa have condemned the revolt, and there's concern it mirrors a previous coup in 2012 that was followed by consistent violence and turmoil for the rest of the decade.
Malian-Canadians living in Ottawa and Gatineau told CBC News that the coup was ignited by the growing anger and indignation of the country's citizens, who rallied against corruption and economic uncertainty — problems for which they held Keïta responsible.
The killing of at least 11 demonstrators in the capital city of Bamako earlier this month only fuelled the appetite for reform leading up to the coup, they said.
Parliament has been dissolved in the West African nation, and on Thursday a colonel in the army declared himself the new leader of the military junta that's now in power. New elections have been promised, but no timeline has been set.
In reaction to the coup, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a group of 15 member states, has closed their borders with Mali, halted funding and removed the country from decision-making bodies.
2nd coup in 8 years
Kolado Sidibé, president of the Ottawa-Gatineau Malians Association, told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview that despite the reaction from ECOWAS, the Malian people now have the ability to create a better future for their country.
The uprising marks another twist in a turbulent decade for Mali: Following an earlier coup in 2012, Islamic extremists seized control of northern towns and armed groups emerged as a result, creating chaos in the rest of the country.
But Sidibé believes the people of Mali have learned their lesson, and further help from the international community will allow this transition to be more successful.
Ibrahim Berthé, a Malian-Canadian lawyer based in Ottawa, said the latest coup was necessary because civilians had no trust in Keïta's government, whcih has been pocketing international aid for years.
"That's the main reason we wanted [Keïta] to step down instead of going to an election in 2023," Berthé told CBC Radio's All In A Day.
Canada's approach flawed: professor
In the last two decades, Canada has sent more than $1.6 billion in aid to Mali.
But according to Bruno Charbonneau, a professor of international studies at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean, Canada has focused too much of its aid to combating Islamic extremists in the country, and not enough on governance or development, allowing instability to grow.
This coup is a sign of the failure of the international community as a whole, which did not focus efforts on capacity-building, Charbonneau told All In A Day.
"There's a lot of blame to share around," he said. "Canada should have been more ambitious."