A West African delegation led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan arrived in Bamako, Mali on Saturday. She must meet with ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and with the leaders of the junta who pressured him to step down.
A West African delegation arrived in Bamako on Saturday, August 22, to meet the leaders of the junta and oust President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, four days after the military coup that overthrew him.
The delegation, sent by the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) “to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order” and led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, landed early in the afternoon. – Dinner at the airport in the Malian capital, AFP journalists stated.
She was received as she left the plane by Colonel Malick Diaw, No. 2 on the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), the body set up by the military to lead the country and by junta spokesman Ismaël Wagué.
Achieve “something good for the country”
Goodluck Jonathan said he was convinced that the discussions would lead to “something good for the country, good for ECOWAS and good for the international community”.
The delegation will meet in the afternoon with the leaders of the CNSP, who pressured President Keïta, known as “IBK”, in power since 2013, to announce his resignation from Tuesday night to Wednesday.
>> To read also: “Mali: from the political crisis to the military coup”
The West African envoys will then travel to Kati, a garrison town on the outskirts of Bamako that has become the center of the new power, for a “visit to the personalities arrested” by the military, including the ousted head of state and his prime minister. Minister, Boubou Cissé.
Since Tuesday, the junta has held about fifteen senior civilian and military officials, including the president of the National Assembly, Moussa Timbiné, and the army chief of staff, General Abdoulaye Coulibaly.
“In the early evening, we will have a meeting with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta,” a delegate told AFP, prior to his arrival in Bamako. “ECOWAS will meet with IBK tonight,” a member of the president’s family confirmed.
The delegation will meet on Sunday morning with the ambassadors in Mali of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (France, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and China), according to its program obtained by AFP.
Mali’s neighbors, who met at an extra summit, demanded “restoration” of President Keita on Thursday and decided to send this delegation to Bamako. This is the fourth for former President Goodluck Jonathan since the start of the socio-political crisis that is shaking Mali.
Elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2018, President Keïta was hotly contested in the streets and a motley opposition movement demanded his resignation.
Four Malian soldiers killed on Saturday in the center
As political and diplomatic talks continue in Bamako, four soldiers were killed and one seriously injured on Saturday morning by an explosive device in the center of the country, according to military and administrative sources. The inability of the Malian state to control large parts of its northern and central territory has been condemned for months by opponents of President Keita.
The military coup, condemned by the international community, drew no notable opposition in Bamako. The military, which promised a “political transition”, was hailed on Friday by thousands of opposition supporters, who demanded the resignation of the head of state for three months.
>> To read also: “Coup d’Etat in Mali: the democratic solution promised by the army raises concerns”
On Saturday morning, dozens of supporters of President Keita tried to demonstrate in Bamako, before being dispersed by police.
“We are here this morning to show that we do not agree with the coup. But people came to attack us with stones, then the police used this aggression to disperse our activists,” said Abdoul Niang, an activist from the Convergence of Republican Forces ( CFR), to AFP.