ECOWAS suspends Mali as Goita declares self coup leader

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US, AU, Ekweremadu, IPAC condemn army takeover

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced the suspension of Mali from the regional economic bloc as the country’s army officer, Col. Assimi Goita declared himself the leader of the coup that ousted 75-year-old President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Tuesday, August 18.

Goita said after meeting top civil servants said he was the leader of the “National Committee for the Salvation of the People” that seized power.

“Mali is in a situation of socio-political crisis. There is no more room for mistakes,” Goita, surrounded by armed military men, told journalists.

The dramatic events in one of Africa’s most volatile countries began early Tuesday, when rebel officers mutinied at a base near Bamako and headed into the city, where they detained Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

Hours later, Keita – beset by angry protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency — announced his resignation.

The ousted leader said he had no other choice but to quit so as to avoid bloodshed.

But ECOWAS suspended the country from its fold with immediate effect and denied the military junta all kinds of legitimacy while also demanding the immediate release of the president and prime minister.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, ECOWAS said the military action would negatively impact the country’s socio-political development.

Also, the regional body decide to close all land and air borders, as well as stop all economical, trade and financial flows and transactions between ECOWAS member states and Mali, and encourages all partners to do the same.

“Following its statement published during the day of August 18th, 2020, reporting on an on-going mutiny within the Malian Armed Forces, ECOWAS has noted with great concern the seizure of power by Malian military putschists.

“This seizure of power intervenes within a difficult socio-political context. Indeed, ECOWAS recalls that a mediation process has been on-going during the last two months, with a view to find a solution to this crisis.

“Following this power grab by Malian military putschists…ECOWAS,

“Utterly condemns the overthrowing of President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita’s democratically elected Government;

“Categorically denies any kind of legitimacy to the putschists and demands the immediate reinstatement of the constitutional order;

“Reminds the military their accountability for the safety and security of President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita and officials arrested;

“Demands the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and of all official arrested;

“Suspends Mali from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies with immediate effect, as per the Additional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and this, until effective reinstatement of the constitutional order;

“Decides to close all land and air borders, as well as to stop all economical, trade and financial flows and transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, and encourages all partners to do the same,” said ECOWAS.

The regional economic grouping also requested the immediate activation of the ECOWAS Standby Force, and demanded the immediate implementation of sanctions against all putschists as well as their partners and collaborators.

It added: “In a bid to salvage the situation, the ECOWAS body has decided to dispatch a high-level delegation to ensure the country’s immediate return to constitutional order.”

Meanwhile, the authority of heads of state and government of ECOWAS holds an extraordinary summit on the socio-political situation in Mali today, Thursday August 20.

A statement on Wednesday from the ECOWAS Commission, entitled, ‘Heads of state to hold extraordinary summit on the socio-political situation in Mali,’ said the summit would hold virtually through videoconference, according to

“The extra-ordinary summit was convened following the military coup d’état in the Republic of Mali.

“ECOWAS has strongly condemned the undemocratic change of government as is against the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

“The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has been mediating in the socio-political crises and has held several mediation and peace missions to Mali,” it said.

The 55-nation African Union (AU) blasted the “unconstitutional change of government” in Mali.

The bloc announced that it was suspending Mali — a rare move that bars a member from attending all summits and meetings — “until restoration of constitutional order.”

It also called for the release of Keita and other officials, a demand also made forcefully by Brussels and Washington.

Also, United States secretary of state, Mike Pompeo condemned what he called a “mutiny” in Mali and called for the freedom of the country’s detained leaders.

Pompeo said in a statement: “The United States strongly condemns the August 18 mutiny in Mali as we would condemn any forcible seizure of power.

“The freedom and safety of detained government officials and their families must be ensured.

“The US calls on all political and military actors to work towards a restoration of constitutional government,” engage in dialogue and “reject violence.”

UN secretary general, António Guterres criticised the military mutiny and called for the restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in the country.

Gueterres reacted to the development in a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Stephane Dujarric, in New York.

“The secretary general is following with deep concern the unfolding developments in Mali, including the military mutiny which culminated in the arrest of President Keita and members of his government in Bamako.

“The secretary general strongly condemns these actions and calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali.

“To this end, he demands the immediate and unconditional release of President Keita and members of his cabinet.

“The secretary general reiterates his calls for a negotiated solution and peaceful resolution of their differences,” he said.

The UN chief also expressed his full support for efforts by the AU and the ECOWAS to resolves the crisis.

He urged all stakeholders, particularly the defence and security forces, to exercise maximum restraint and uphold the human rights and individual freedoms of all Malians.

Also, former Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu condemned the military intervention in Mali.

Ekweremadu noted that Mali was strategic in the war against insurgency, adding that political instability in that country portends dire consequences for West Africa and the Sahel region.

Ekweremadu said the military intervention could also contaminate other democracies in the sub-region if not resisted by the international community.

“The military intervention in the political disagreements in Mali, which ultimately led to the arrest, detention, and forced resignation of President Ibrahim Keita, is most unfortunate and roundly condemnable,” he tweeted.

Also, the Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) condemned the coup and advised the Nigerian government to immediately suspend all diplomatic relations with Mali until democratic rule is restored.

In a statement in Abuja by IPAC’s national legal adviser, Mr. Chukwudi Ezeobika, the council called for the prosecution of the coup plotters.

“No matter how interestingly coined, military coup should never be supported or encouraged by any responsible government, individual or group of individuals, most specifically in Africa due to the attendant negative impact of such action on the civilian population.

“The current developments in Mali should indeed be of great concern to leaders of democratic systems of government across the world,” IPAC stated.

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