ECOWAS closes borders, suspends Mali after president Keita forced to resign
London, August 19, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said on Tuesday it had decided to close its member states’ borders with Mali after mutinying soldiers detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
ECOWAS said in a statement it was also suspending all financial flows between its 15 members and Mali and suspending Mali from its decision-making bodies.
It called on the ECOWAS commission to impose sanctions on the “putschists and their partners and collaborators”.
Meanwhile, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced early on Wednesday that he is resigning from his post saying that he does not wish blood to be shed following a mutiny in the capital, Bamako.
“Today, certain parts of the military have decided that intervention was necessary. Do I really have a choice? Because I do not wish blood to be shed,” Keita said in a brief statement broadcast on national television.
Keita said that he has decided “to give up my duty from now on.”
It is unclear if the military is now in charge of the country.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the arrest of Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and top government officials by mutinying soldiers on Tuesday, calling for their immediate release, a UN spokesperson said.
“The Secretary-General … calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Similarly, the African Union (AU) has condemned the detention of Mali’s president and other top government officials by mutinous soldiers in an apparent coup attempt and demanded they be freed urgently.
“I strongly condemn the forced detention of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, the 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 statement.
I strongly condemn the forced detention of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of #Mali, the Prime Minister and other members of the Malian govt, and call for their immediate release. My full statement:https://t.co/zvJVuJJbjp— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) August 18, 2020
He also denounced “any attempt at unconstitutional change” while urging the mutineers to “cease all use of violence”.
Faki called on the 15-nation West African ECOWAS bloc, the UN and the entire international community to “combine their efforts to oppose any use of force to end the political crisis in Mali”.
Faki’s statement came shortly before UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the detentions of the government officials and demanded their immediate release.