ECOWAS may deploy standby force to Mali as UN Security Council orders rebel soldiers back to barracks
London, August 20, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The deployment of ECOWAS standby force to Mali to restore the democratic government of ousted president, Ibrahim Keita will top the agenda today, Thursday as the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) holds an Extraordinary Summit on the Socio-Political Situation in the West African country
Holding virtually through videoconference, the Summit was convened following the Military Coup d’Etat in the Republic of Mali. ECOWAS has strongly condemned the undemocratic change of government as it is against the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.
The West African Leaders deployed a Standby force to the Gambia after several efforts to compel the then country’s ruler, Yahyeh Jammeh to step down after his defeat in the country’s polls proved futile.
A prelude to the summit was signalled on Wednesday when Nigeria called for the immediate activation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) standby force over the Mali political crisis.
The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama made the call in a tweet on Wednesday saying that the country welcomed the activation of the standby force.
The Nigerian Government unequivocally condemns the the coup d'état that took place in #Mali yesterday and demands the immediate and unconditional restoration of constitutional order. We welcome the urgent activation of the #ECOWAS Standby force. @NigeriaGov @ecowas_cedeao— Geoffrey Onyeama (@GeoffreyOnyeama) August 19, 2020
Mali has been suspended from ECOWAS decision making bodies with immediate effect.
The regional body decision followed the military forceful takeover of government in Mali.
ECOWAS has also denied all kind of legitimacy to the coup while also demanding the immediate release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who has been in detention.
In a statement issued in Abuja, ECOWAS stated that the military action would impact negatively on the country.
The regional body also closed all land and air borders, as well as a halt to all trade, financial flows and transactions between ECOWAS member states and Mali, and encourages all partners to do the same
United Nations Security Council on Wednesday ordered Malian mutineers to immediately release detained officials, including the country’s president, and “return to their barracks without delay.”
The 15 members also “underlined the urgent need to restore rule of law and to move towards the return to constitutional order,” according to a Council statement.
Rebel soldiers took President Ibrahim Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse into custody on Tuesday afternoon and drove the pair to a military base on the outskirts of Bamako, which they had seized that morning
Keita, whose government had been beset by months of protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives, later announced early Wednesday that he had resigned to avoid “bloodshed”.
“If it pleased certain elements of our military to decide this should end with their intervention, do I really have a choice?” he said of the day’s events.
“(I must) submit to it, because I don’t want any bloodshed,” the ousted 75-year-old president added in a television broadcast.
The coup’s leaders appeared on television hours later to pledge a political transition and new elections within a “reasonable time”.