Tag Archives: Boubou Cisse

Mali crisis: Ex PM, Boubou Cisse freed months after Boubacar’s release.

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The soldiers who took power in Mali on August 18 before embarking on a transition supposed to bring civilians back to power announced on Wednesday the release of the 12 civilian and military personalities arrested during their coup.

“The vice-president of the transition (and leader of the putschists, Colonel Assimi Goïta, editor’s note) informs the public (…) of the release today of political and military figures arrested following the events of August 18, 2020 “, a press release by the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), which overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta said.


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“These are the former Prime Minister, Boubou Cissé, the former President of the National Assembly, Moussa Timbiné, generals Ibrahima Dahirou Dembélé, M’bemba Moussa Keïta, Oumar Dao, Ouahoun Koné, Boukary Kodio, Abdramane Baby, Abdoulaye Coulibaly, Moustapha Drabo and Colonel-Major Faguimba Kansaye “, according to the press release published on the CNSP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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“However, the interested parties remain at the disposal of justice for all useful purposes”, adds the text.

Noting the “significant progress towards constitutional normalization” since the establishment of bodies responsible for leading the transition to civil power, the Community of West African States on Tuesday lifted the sanctions imposed on Mali the day after the coup.

West African leaders welcomed the appointment of a transitional president, Bah Ndaw, a retired colonel, and that of a former foreign minister, Moctar Ousmane, as prime minister.

They also welcomed the renunciation by the military of a major prerogative initially vested in the head of the junta:

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Colonel Goïta will not be able to replace the president of the transition if the latter is unable to attend, according to the charter drawn up by the military.

But ECOWAS had also underlined that the lifting of sanctions, foremost among them a commercial and financial embargo, should be seen as an encouragement to go further.

The regional bloc, mediator in the Malian crisis, had insisted on the need to release the military and civilian officials arrested “during the coup d’état of August 18”.

To satisfy the leaders of neighboring countries, the Malian military still has to take a major step: the “dissolution” of the National Council for the Salvation of the People itself.


#Newsworthy…

Mali crisis: Junta says Boubacar Keita has been released.

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Mali’s new military rulers said Thursday that former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was detained during the country’s coup on August 18, had been freed.

The junta, which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), said on Facebook it was “informing public and international opinion that former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been released and is currently in his residence”.

Keita’s release had been a key demand of Mali’s neighbours and international organisations, including the African Union and European Union.

“President IBK is free in his movements, he’s at home,” a spokesman for the junta, Djibrila Maiga, told AFP, referring to Keita by his initials, as many Malians do.

Outsed president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita

A Keita relative, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 75-year-old former leader had returned overnight to his house in the Sebenikoro district of the capital Bamako.

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Keita, prime minister Boubou Cisse and other senior officials were seized by rebel troops led by young officers who staged a mutiny at a base near Bamako.

In the early hours of August 19, Keita appeared on national TV to announce his resignation, saying he had had no other choice, and wanted to avoid “bloodshed”.

The release of Keita and other leaders has been demanded by Mali’s neighbours and allies and international organisations.

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, heading a team from the regional bloc ECOWAS, was given access to Keita last Saturday, and said he seemed “very fine.”


#Newsworthy…

Mali crisis: Boubacar no longer interested in Power – Jonathan tells Buhari.

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The ousted Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, says he is no longer interested in returning to his former office.

This was according to Nigeria’s former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who visited the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday.

Dr Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, was at the Villa to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the crisis in the West African country.

The meeting comes ahead of an extraordinary virtual summit by ECOWAS Heads of State and Leaders scheduled to take place on Friday.

Briefing the President on his recent visit to Mali, Dr Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President who confirmed that he resigned from office voluntarily.

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The former president also brought President Buhari up to speed on dialogue with the military coup leaders seeking to stay in power for three years, before holding elections in the country.

“They call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People,” Dr Jonathan was quoted as saying in a statement by President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

He added, “We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad and not return to answer questions they may have for him.

A photo taken on August 26, 2020, shows former President Goodluck Jonathan with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an interim government headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months and a maximum of 12 calendar months.

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“The Interim Government would then organise elections to restore full constitutional order.”

According to the former president, the military leaders in Mali want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place as it is already affecting the country.

In response, he said, “But we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS Heads of State.”

President Buhari, in his remarks, stressed that the priority in Mali now should be securing the country which he said was largely occupied by terrorists.

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“About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests,” he stated.

The President was, however, hopeful that the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday.

A photo taken on August 26, 2020, shows former President Goodluck Jonathan walking with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He also believes the ECOWAS leaders will arrive at an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties.

Recently, a series of protests erupted in the streets of Bamako, Mali’s capital despite rainfall and pleas from mediators to stay home, demanding the resignation of ousted President Keita.

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The Malian leader was later overthrown by mutinying troops on August 18, amid the lingering unrest in the country.

He was arrested and taken into custody along with the country’s Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse, as well as other senior government officials.

The coup has sent shockwaves around the West African sub-region, sparking fears that one of its most volatile states could collapse.

A day after he was forced out of office, President Keita bowed to pressure and announced that he had stepped down to avoid “bloodshed”.


#Newsworthy…

Jonathan arrives Mali with ECOWAS delegation.

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A delegation of West African leaders headed by former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has arrived in the Malian capital, Bamako on a mission to try to push for a speedy return to civilian rule after a military coup in the troubled nation.

The delegation plans to meet members of the new junta as well as ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Rebel soldiers seized Keita and other leaders after a mutiny on Tuesday, dealing another deep blow to a country already struggling with a brutal Islamist insurgency and widespread public discontent over its government.

Mali’s neighbours have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.

“ECOWAS appreciates what is happening in Mali and ECOWAS wants the best for the country,” Jonathan said after his arrival.

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“We’re going to discuss with all stakeholders and I think at the end of the day we’ll come out with something that is good for the country, good for ECOWAS and good for the international community.”

A delegation official said they would meet members of the junta and later Keita, who is being held with prime minister Boubou Cisse in Kati, a military base northwest of Bamako where the coup was unleashed.

Adding to the international pressure, the United States on Friday suspended military aid to Mali, with no further training or support of the Mali armed forces.

Colonel Malick Diaw (C), vice-president of the CNSP (National Committee for the Salvation of the People) smiles at a crowd of supporters as he arrives escorted by Malian soldiers at the Independence square in Bamako, on August 21, 2020. ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP

‘We won’
But thousands of jubilant Malians took to the streets of Bamako on Friday to celebrate the toppling of Keita, who was reelected in 2018 but became the focus of widespread discontent.

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The crowds gathered in Bamako’s central square draped in the national flag and blasting on vuvuzela horns.

The rally, originally organised as an anti-Keita protest by a loose coalition that has led months of mass rallies against him, was recast to “celebrate the victory of the Malian people”.

“I am overjoyed! We won,” said Mariam Cisse, 38.

Speaking at the rally Ismael Wague, spokesman for the junta which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, paid tribute to the public.

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“We merely completed the work that you began and we recognise ourselves in your fight,” he said.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C) walks at the International Airport in Bamako upon his arrival on August 22, 2020 next to by Malick Diaw (4R), the Vice President of the CNSP (National Committee for the Salvation of the People) ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP

‘Transitional council’
The junta has said it welcomes the ECOWAS visit but has not talked of restoring Keita to power.

“A transitional council, with a transitional president who is going to be either military or civilian” would be appointed, Wague told France 24 television Thursday.

Keita won election in a landslide in 2013, presenting himself as a unifying figure in a fractured country, and was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term.

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But he failed to make headway against the jihadist revolt that has left swathes of the country in the hands of armed Islamists and ignited ethnic violence in the country’s volatile centre.

Thousands of UN and French troops, along with soldiers from five Sahel countries, have been deployed to try to stem the bloodshed.

In a sign of the continuing challenge facing the country, four soldiers were killed by an explosive device in the center of the country.

The ECOWAS visit to Mali comes after the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country said a human rights team had gained access to the ousted president and other detainees on Thursday.

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A junta member said the coup leaders had released former economy minister Abdoulaye Daffe and Sabane Mahalmoudou, Keita’s private secretary, calling the move “proof that we respect human rights”.

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (2L) walks at the International Airport in Bamako upon his arrival on August 22, 2020 next to by Malick Diaw (L), the Vice President of the CNSP (National Committee for the Salvation of the People). ANNIE RISEMBERG / AFP

While Keita and Cisse have no television, radio or phone, other detainees are in a training centre, where they are sleeping on mattresses and have a TV, according to witnesses to the visit.

The 75-year-old ousted president “looked tired but relaxed,” they said, describing his conditions as “acceptable”.

Tuesday’s coup was the second in eight years, and has heightened concern over regional stability as its jihadist insurgency that now threatens neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.


#Newsworthy…

Mali crisis: United Nations gains access to Boubacar Keita, Others.

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The United Nations said Friday it had gained access to Mali’s ousted president while rebel troops said they had released two other detained leaders, in developments that followed mounting international pressure on the new junta.

“Last night, a team from MINUSMA #HumanRights went to #Kati in the framework of its mandate to protect human rights and was able to gain access to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and other detainees,” the UN peacekeeping mission said.

Kati is a military base near the capital Bamako where the detainees were taken during Tuesday’s coup in the troubled West African country.

Separately, a member of the junta, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it had authoritised a “UN human rights mission” to visit all 19 prisoners in Kati, including Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

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The source said the junta had released former economy minister Abdoulaye Daffe and Sabane Mahalmoudou, Keita’s private secretary.

“Two prisoners have been released. There are still 17 in Kati. This is the proof that we respect human rights,” the junta member said.

Rebel soldiers seized Keita and other leaders after staging a mutiny at Kati, a base about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Bamako.

They named their organisation the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, under the leadership of a colonel named Assimi Goita, and vowed to stage elections “within a reasonable time”.

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The West African bloc ECOWAS, the African Union, the European Union, United States and UN Security Council have all condemned the putsch and demanded the release of Keita and other detained leaders.

The coup is Mali’s second in eight years and deals a body blow to a country struggling with a jihadist insurgency, moribund economy and deep public resentment over its government.

A putsch in 2012 was followed by an insurrection in the north of the country which developed into a jihadist insurgency that now threatens neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Thousands of UN and French troops, along with soldiers from five Sahel countries, have been deployed to try to stem the bloodshed.

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The junta’s spokesman, Ismael Wague, said on Thursday that “a transitional council, with a transitional president who is going to be either military or civilian” would be appointed.

The transition “will be the shortest possible,” he told France 24 television.

Those detained, according to various sources, include Defence Minister Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele; Security Minister M’Bemba Moussa Keita; and the president of the National Assembly, Moussa Timbine, according to various sources.

Others are army chief of staff General Abdoulaye Coulibaly; the president’s personal chief of staff General Oumar Dao; air force chief General Souleymane Doucoure; and the head of the National Guard, Ouahoun Kone.


#Newsworthy…

Mali crisis: Buhari demands immediate release of Boubacar Keita

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President Muhammadu Buhari has called for the immediate release of Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and a return to constitutional order in the West African nation.

A statement by the State House said Buhari made the call on Thursday during a virtual meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“President Keita and other detainees should be released unconditionally and with immediate effect,” the Nigerian leader said.

He assured that Nigeria is in support of “the efforts of President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, for wider regional and continental consultations, especially on the possibility of detaching ECOWAS and AU troops with the UN Mission in Mali, to protect State Institutions and also act as the first layer of defence in the country to help preserve and protect lives and property.”

According to the Nigerian leader, the removal of the Malian President could have “devastating consequences” for the country and the West African sub-region.

“Today, Mali has not only descended into political chaos but also socio-economic and security disaster with potentially tragic consequences to Mali and the sub-region,” he explained.

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While commending the African Union, the UN and other international bodies for condemning the coup in Mali, he called on them to work with ECOWAS in the restoration of peace to the country.

“ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN should not stand by, while the situation deteriorates,” he said.

“Thus far, their strong statements of condemnation are sincerely appreciated and I urge them to continue to walk this route together with us until sanity returns to Mali with the restoration of Civil Administration.”

Other resolutions reached during the meeting include the following: firmness on the restoration of Constitutional order; release of President Keita and all those arrested; stoppage of economic relations with Mali, with exceptions granted to staple foods, fuel and medication, for the sake of the people; continued engagement with all parties to the crisis, while the Special Envoy appointed to mediate, former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, along with Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of ECOWAS Commission, are to visit Mali to convey the decisions of the West African leaders.

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Seizing Power

Rebel troops on Tuesday seized President Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in a dramatic escalation.

Malian army officer, Colonel Assimi Goita on Wednesday announced himself as the coup leader.

Avoiding ‘Bloodshed’
Keita said on Wednesday he had stepped down to avoid “bloodshed” after he was detained in a military coup, whose leaders pledged new elections.

The African Union (AU) also on Wednesday suspended Mali with the US and European Union, joining to condemn the coup and demanded the release of the detained leaders.


#Newsworthy…

Mali awakes military rule after Boubacar’s resignation.

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his resignation comes in order to curb bloodshed.


Mali awoke on Wednesday to a new chapter in its troubled history after rebel military leaders forced President Boubacar Keita from office, prompting its West African neighbours to threaten border closures and sanctions against the coup leaders.

Keita, embattled by months of protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency, said he had resigned to avoid bloodshed.

There were few obvious traces of the previous day’s drama in the capital Bamako — there were no troops on the streets despite the coup leaders announcing a night-time curfew.

The burnt-out home of the former justice minister after an attack by protesters was one of the few visible signs of the overthrow.

Jubilant crowds had cheered the rebels on Tuesday as they arrived in Bamako, where they detained Keita along with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded the “immediate and unconditional release” of both men as diplomats in New York said the Security Council would hold emergency talks on Wednesday.

It was unclear whether Keita was still in custody on Wednesday at the Kati military base — a facility seized by the mutineers that was also the site of the 2012 coup that brought him to power.

Armed members of the FAMA (Malian Armed Forces) are celebrated by the population as they parade at Independence Square in Bamako on August 18, 2020, after rebel troops seized Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis. STRINGER / AFP

The coup leaders appeared on television overnight to pledge a political transition and new elections within a “reasonable time”.

Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff Ismael Wague said he and his fellow officers had “decided to take responsibility in front of the people and of history”.

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There were no reports of casualties during the military takeover but the coup leaders announced a curfew and border closures, in effect sealing off the country.

– Jihadist insurgency –

French President Emmanuel Macron was among the first to condemn the mutiny, his office saying that he still supported mediation efforts by other West African states.

Mali is the cornerstone of French-led efforts to roll back jihadists in the Sahel, and its neighbours are anxious to avoid the country sliding into chaos.

Colonel Wague said “all past agreements” would be respected, including Mali’s support for anti-jihadist missions in the region.

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“MINUSMA (the UN force in Mali), (France’s) Barkhane force, the G5 Sahel, Takuba (a European special-forces initiative) remain our partners,” he said.

The coup leaders also remain “committed to the Algiers process,” a 2015 peace agreement between the Malian government and armed groups in the north of the country, he said.

Swathes of Mali’s territory are outside of the control of the central authorities.

Years of fighting have failed to brake an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives since emerging in 2012.

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The failure fuelled frustrations with Keita’s rule and tensions flared in April after the government held long-delayed parliamentary elections, the results of which are still disputed.

– Sanctions threat –

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last month suggested the formation of a unity government while offering continued support for Keita, but the compromise was slapped down by the opposition.

ECOWAS condemned the coup in a statement, pledging to close land and air borders to Mali and push for sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”.

The 15-nation bloc — which includes Mali — also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies.

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Further afield, Morocco on Wednesday stressed the need for “stability” in Mali, calling for “responsible dialogue, respect for constitutional order and the preservation of democratic gains.”

The coup coincided with opposition plans to resume protests against Keita.

The June 5 Movement, named after the date of its first protest, focussed public anger against the leader and made increasingly strident demands for his resignation.

Its campaign veered into crisis last month when 11 people were killed during three days of unrest sparked by a demonstration.


#Newsworthy…

Update: ECOWAS suspends Mali, imposes sanctions over coup.

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The West Africa bloc ECOWAS on Tuesday condemned a military putsch in Mali and pledged a range of retaliatory actions, including financial sanctions.

Rebel soldiers arrested Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Tuesday afternoon following weeks of political tension in the country.

The dramatic move followed the seizure of an army base near the capital Bamako that morning.

In a statement, the Economic Community for West African States said that its members would close land and air borders to Mali and pledged to demand sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”.

The 15-nation bloc — which includes Mali — also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies.

“ECOWAS has noted with great concern the seizure of power by Malian military putschists,” said the statement, which was originally published in French.

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Mali has been in the grip of a deep political impasse since June, with President Keita facing increasingly strident demands for his resignation.

The opposition June 5 Movement, named for the date of its first protest, has been channelling deep anger over a dire economy, perceived government corruption and a brutal jihadist conflict.

President Buhari with President of Togo H.E. Faure Gnassingbe, President of Burkina Faso H.E. Roch Marc Kabore, President of Guinea Conakry H.E. Alpha Conde and President of Gambia H.E. Adama Barrow during the 55th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS in Abuja on 21st Dec 2019

The opposition alliance’s anti-Keita campaign veered into crisis last month when at least 11 people were killed over three days of unrest that followed a protest.

In an effort to avoid chaos in notoriously unstable Mali, ECOWAS then stepped in to mediate.

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The bloc suggested the formation of a unity government and other measures late last month, but stuck by Keita.

But the June 5 Movement has repeatedly spurned compromise proposals, and has continued to demand Keita’s departure.

The political opposition declared a new phase of anti-government rallies on Monday.

Keita, 75, is currently being held by rebel soldiers outside of the capital.


#Newsworthy…

Mali crisis: EU condemns attempted coup de e’tat amid leaders’ arrest.

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The EU on Tuesday condemned an “attempted coup” in Mali after soldiers mutinied and arrested the crisis-torn country’s political leaders.

“The European Union condemns the attempted coup d’etat underway in Mali and rejects all unconstitutional change,” the bloc’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“This can in no way be a response to the profound socio-economic crisis which has been hitting Mali for some months.”

The EU, which has operated a mission training the armed forces in Mali since 2013, joined the UN and regional bloc ECOWAS in calling for dialogue.

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“A consensual outcome respecting constitutional principles, international law and human rights is the only way to avoid destabilising not only Mali but the whole region,” Borrell said in his statement

One of the leaders of the mutineering soldiers told AFP that “the president and the prime minister are under our control” after being “arrested” at Keita’s residence in the capital Bamako.

Keita and Cisse are now being held in an army base in the town of Kati, an official at the prime minister’s office said.

Their arrest comes after months of protests calling for Keita’s arrest that have rocked the crisis-torn country.


#Newsworthy…

Mali crisis: UN chief order immediate release of President Boubacar and PM.

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United Nations head Antonio Guterres demanded “the immediate and unconditional release” of Mali’s president and members of his government Tuesday after they were seized by rebel soldiers.

“The secretary-general strongly condemns these actions and calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

“To this end, he demands the immediate and unconditional release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and members of his cabinet,” added the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

The sudden mutiny marked a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis in the fragile West African country.

Guterres is following the unfolding developments in the capital Bamako “with deep concern,” Dujarric added.

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“The secretary-general reiterates his calls for a negotiated solution and peaceful resolution of their differences.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

“The secretary-general urges all stakeholders, particularly the defence and security forces, to exercise maximum restraint and uphold the human rights and individual freedoms of all Malians,” the spokesman said.

The United Nations Security Council is due to hold emergency talks on the crisis on Wednesday afternoon, diplomats in New York said.

The meeting was requested by France and Niger and will take place behind closed doors, a UN diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.


#Newsworthy…

AU frowns at Malian President, PM’s arrest.

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The African Union on Tuesday condemned the arrest of Mali’s political leaders by mutineering troops and demanded they be freed immediately.

“I forcefully condemn the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister (Boubou Cisse) and other members of the Malian government, and call for their immediate release,” the chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said in a tweet in French.

He also condemned “any attempt at unconstitutional change” while urging the mutineers to “cease all use of violence”.

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Faki called on the 15-nation West African ECOWAS bloc, the United Nations and the entire international community to “combine their efforts to oppose any use of force to end the political crisis in Mali”.

One of the leaders of the mutineering soldiers told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that “the president and the prime minister are under our control” after being “arrested” at Keita’s residence in the capital Bamako.

In this file photo taken on June 30, 2020 Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita poses for a photo during the G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott. Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

Keita and Cisse are now being held in an army base in the town of Kati, an official at the prime minister’s office said.

Their arrest comes after months of protests calling for Keita’s arrest that have rocked the crisis-torn country.


#Newsworthy…

Top Story: Malian president, PM arrested.

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Mutineering soldiers in Mali on Tuesday detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, one of their leaders said.

“We can tell you that the president and the prime minister are under our control,” the leader, who requested anonymity, told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).

He added that the pair had been “arrested” at Keita’s residence in the capital Bamako.

Earlier, soldiers launched a mutiny from the nearby garrison town of Kati.

Another military official, who also declined to be named, said the president and prime minister were in an armoured vehicle en route to Kati.


#Newsworthy…