African Union suspends Mali, putschists under international pressure

International pressure was accentuated on Wednesday by the military junta that seized power from Malian, who arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his prime minister. by the President and the immediate restoration of civilian power.

The international community continues to react, following the coup that overthrew the Malian government. The African Union announced on Wednesday, August 19, the suspension of Mali from the organization “until the restoration of a constitutional order”. AU’s current president, South African Cyril Ramaphosa, also demanded the “immediate release” of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, still detained the day after his arrest by the army.

A reaction that joins the United States and the European Union, the same day. Following an extra EU summit, the 27 called for an “immediate return to the rule of law” in the country. “Stability in the region and Mali, the fight against terrorism must remain absolute priorities,” said European Council President Charles Michel, stressing the “extreme concern” of Europeans.

The head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on Wednesday night called for the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the government members who were arrested. He also demanded the immediate restoration of civilian power.

The reaction was equally virulent on the other side of the Atlantic. Washington therefore strongly condemned on August 18 the mutiny in Mali, because we would condemn all seizures of power by force, insisted the head of US diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, not to mention a coup.

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Among neighboring countries, Algeria, which shares 1,400 km of borders with Mali and has played an important role in the peace talks in that country, “reiterates its steadfast rejection of all constitutional changes by the government”. Similarly, Morocco, a partner of Mali, said it was “linked to the stability of this country”.

President Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé were still in the Kati military camp, the headquarters of the perpetrators of the coup near Bamako, on Wednesday, a source in the National Committee for the Salvation of the People said. (CNSP), the body created on Tuesday by the Putschists. Other civilian and military officials were also arrested on Tuesday.

Appeal by the junta to stop vandalism

For its part, the powerful junta in Bamako on Wednesday urged Malays to “go about their business freely” and “resume their activities in a healthy way”, and also demands that vandalism be stopped. The Committee “urges officials to resume work starting tomorrow, Thursday 20 August 2020, and assures the people that all arrangements have been made to protect people and property, as well as workplaces,” added Ismaël Wagué, Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force and Military Spokesman

However, calm reigned on Wednesday in the capital, which still bore scars from the events that punctured this turn of power. The offices that house the law firm of former Minister of Justice Kassim Tapo were particularly attacked and burned by angry people. Administrations and banks were also closed.

Exits and closed borders

President Keïtaa announced on his public television his resignation from Tuesday to Wednesday, following the dissolution of the government and the National Assembly. “Do I really have a choice?” He said he wanted to prevent bloodshed from keeping him in power.

Major-General Ismaël Wagué then announced the establishment of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, declaring that the military had “decided to take (their) responsibility” in the face of chaos, anarchy and insecurity.

The military called on civil society and political movements to “create the best conditions for a civilian political transition leading to credible general elections” within a “reasonable time”. The putschists finally announced the closure of borders and a curfew, while trying to reassure the international community of its intentions. “All agreements made” will be respected, confirmed Colonel Wagué.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), mediator in the crisis that has plagued Mali since June, condemned the coup and shut the country down. It will meet on Thursday through video conference. The UN also condemned the coup. The UN Security Council will meet on Wednesday behind closed doors in Mali at the request of France and Niger, who currently chair ECOWAS, according to a diplomatic source.

With AFP