Former President Goodluck Jonathan is due in Bamako today at the head of a delegation of West African leaders to ”help the search for solutions” in Mali, following Tuesday’s ouster of President Ibrahim Keita by soldiers.
Also on the delegation are 14 other leaders from the region.
They are scheduled to hold peace talks with the junta leaders including Assimi Goita who has declared himself head of the junta.
The junta is receptive to the meeting with one official saying yesterday: “We will receive the ECOWAS delegation with pleasure… it is important to talk to our brothers.”
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday announced that it would dispatch a high-level delegation “to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”. It also demanded that Keita be restored as president and warned the junta that it bore “responsibility for the safety and security” of the detainees.
Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other senior officials are currently in custody.
Moments before the coup on Tuesday, Jonathan had told President Muhammadu Buhari during a briefing in Abuja that Mali’s main opposition group, M5, was adamant on its call for the resignation of Keita.
Keita, who later appeared in a state television broadcast on Wednesday, declared the dissolution of the government and National Assembly and said he had no choice but to resign with immediate effect.
In a related development, members of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have managed to visit President Ibrahim Keita and other senior government officials who have been detained by the leaders of military mutiny, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said yesterday in Moscow.
The coup rocked Bamako on Tuesday when a group of Malian soldiers took control of the Kati military base near the capital and seized President Keita and some other high-ranking officials.
Keita subsequently announced his resignation and dissolution of parliament.
“Yesterday in the evening a team of #DroitsdelHomme [Human Rights] of MINUSMA visited #Kati within the framework of its mandate to protect human rights and was able to have access to President Keita and other detainees,” the MINUSMA tweeted.
Leaders of the countries across the world and international organisations condemned the coup, including the West African ECOWAS union, which also closed borders with and cut political and economic ties with Mali.
The military established the National Committee for the Salvation of the People the country’s new governing body under the leadership of Assimi Goita, who was previously the commander of military forces in central Mali.