The Mali government has today revealed that hitherto unknown reserves of oil have been discovered in the north of the country. They say this is completely unrelated to their bid to gain military assistance from western governments for the on-going conflict with Islamic fundamentalists.
“It’s sloshing around all over the place. We’re practically swimming in the stuff!”, said President Traore. “We’ve got ourselves a proper little Iraq on our hands and no mistaking”.
Asked how they had only just discovered the “significant reserves”, the newly appointed Minister for Plentiful Oil was quick to elucidate: “It’s a funny story actually. We were digging a mass grave to bury all the people we’d killed in our coup last year, when suddenly we struck oil”. He then stopped abruptly to reassure the press that this was not a war crime, as the people killed were “probably mostly Islamists”.
The minister went on to share his somewhat enigmatic philosophy about the recent discovery: “Sometimes you find answers where before there were only questions, sometimes you find trust where before there was mistrust, and sometimes you find 43 billion barrels of oil that scientific research had previously indicated weren’t there. This time it was the latter.”
The UK government is trying to counter claims that it has only developed an interest in Mali upon hearing it may be oil-rich. “We take an interest in all humanitarian issues across the world and Mali is no different”, stressed Secretary of State Philip Hammond. “Mali is a land-locked country in West Africa. Its capital is Bamako. Its primary exports are gold and salt. The population is predominantly rural (68% in 2002), and 5–10% of Malians are nomadic. Really, I could talk about Mali all day!”.
“Any UK forces we deploy will be purely to ensure the safety of the Malian people. And of course the 500 strong oil exploratory team that we are also rushing out there to help as we speak.”