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Mali’s Detained President, PM Ousted

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MALIAN Vice President Assimi Goita has announced that interim President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have been deposed after they were arrested on Monday.

Goita, the former leader of a military coup in August 2020, also promised new elections in 2022, while speaking to radio broadcaster ORTM.

N’Daw and Ouane were arrested late on Monday, shortly after issuing a decree appointing a new cabinet.

They were taken to a military camp in Kati, about 15 kilometres north-west of the capital, Bamako.

The international community, including the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria, United States (U.S), Germany and France have strongly condemned the detention and called for their release.

Nigeria described the detention of Ndaw and Ouane as totally unacceptable.

A statement issued yesterday by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwoye, indicated that the Federal Government said the action might derail the peace-building efforts and timetable for the return of democratic governance in Mali.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria, therefore, calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the President and Prime Minister.

“The key actors of the condemnable act should be aware of the fact that stakeholders in the region and friends of Mali reject any act of coercion of the detained officials, including forced resignations,” the statement said.

Also yesterday, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) called for the release of the detained Malian interim president and Prime Minister.

A tweet by the UN Mission said: “We are closely monitoring events and remain committed to supporting the Transition. We call for calm and demand the immediate and unconditional release of the President and the Prime Minister. Those who hold them will have to answer for their actions.”

MINUSMA said those who are holding the detainees must ensure their integrity.

“We are in close contact with ECOWAS and the AU within the framework of the local transition monitoring committee, as well as with other international actors engaged in support of the current transition. We support these efforts.”

African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean Claude Brou have strongly condemned the arrest.

In a joint statement in Bamako, they said: “This act of extreme gravity can in no way be tolerated under the relevant provisions of ECOWAS and the African Union”, and asked the military to return to the barracks.

The two leaders indicated that they are following “with deep concern the evolution of the political situation in Mali”, besides demanding “the immediate and unconditional release of the authorities kept in the barracks.”

They encouraged the Malian parties to toe the spirit of dialogue and responsibility to settle misunderstandings surrounding the establishment of the government.

The situation is unclear after Ndaw and Ouane were taken to the Kati military camp, Bamako, where the last coup in August 2020 that ousted President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta began.

On Monday, after the announcement of the list of the new government team, disgruntled soldiers arrested the President of the Transition and the Prime Minister and took them to the Kati Military Camp, about 15km from the capital, Bamako.

Colonels Sadio Camara and Modibo Koné, authors of the August 18 coup against former Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita, are no longer part of the government, having been replaced by two generals in the ministries of Defence and Security, which is apparently at the origin of the current incident.

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