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Jonathan’s Intervention Leads To Release Of Mali’s Interim President, Prime Minister

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The intervention of former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has led to the release from detention of Interim President and Prime Minister of Mali, Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane respectively by leaders of Mali’s military, Jonathan’s media aide, Ikechukwu Eze on Thursday said in a statement.

According to him, Jonathan, who is ECOWAS mediator for the Mali crisis, had travelled to Bamako on Tuesday to meet with the military leaders and other stakeholders after the sudden turn of events in the transition process that led to the detention of Ndaw and Ouane, by the military under the control of Vice President Colonel Assimi Goita.

He added that, Jonathan, who is the mediator and his team had on Wednesday obtained the commitment of the military leaders to release Ndaw and Ouane, after visiting them at Kati Barracks, near Bamako where they were being held, to ascertain their health condition.

Eze said that before visiting the President and Prime Minister in detention Jonathan had met with Colonel Goita where he demanded their unconditional release and urged the authorities to maintain peace and stability which, according to him, are key to the conduct of the transitional process.

Eze noted that the release of Ndaw and Ouane early Thursday morning came three days after they were detained and stripped of their powers, nine months after they were appointed to lead the transition government.

The two leaders had been heading the interim government under the transition charter with the aim of restoring full civilian rule within 18 months.

He quoted an unnamed official of the transition government as saying: “The interim president and prime minister were released overnight around 1.30am.

We were true to our word.” He added that family members confirmed that the two men had returned to their homes in the capital Bamako.

Eze stated that the development came a day after military officials said the country’s transitional president and prime minister had resigned while in detention.

He said that Jonathan, who, according to him, left Mali on Thursday is billed to present a report to the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for further decisions to be taken on the new situation in Mali.

He added that the mediator was accompanied on the mission by Ghana’s foreign minister and chair of ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Francis Benhazin.

Others, according to him, were El Ghassim Wane, United Nations Special Representative in Mali and Mr. Fulgence Zeneth, Head of African Union Mission for Mali and the Sahel

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