Ségou (Seku, Segu) is a town and an urban commune in south-central Mali that lies 235 kilometres (146 mi) northeast of Bamako on the River Niger. The town is the capital of the Ségou Cercle and the Ségou Region.
Mali’s third largest city with a population of approximately 159,000, Segou has long been a charming, post-colonial regional capital on the banks of the Niger River. Until its interruption in May 2012 due to the protracted absence of a democratically elected government, a United States government Millennium Challenge Corporation grant has supported a massive irrigation project in Segou. The town has long hosted the hugely popular annual Festival du Niger, a national arts fest featuring major performing and visual artists, including Mali’s legendary larger-than-lifesize puppets. Since the coup, the ensuing violence and chaos currently consuming the north of this formerly peaceful and democratic nation and the flight from their homes of some 400,000 Malians, Segou has served as a safe haven for more than 16,000 internally displaced.