West African states demand Mali soldiers reinstate president
“We demand the immediate restoration of constitutional order … and the immediate release of President Keita and all the arrested officials,” ECOWAS president and President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, said at the end of a virtual summit.
ECOWAS members had decided to stop all economic, financial and commercial transactions with Mali, excluding the trade of necessities, such as medicines, fuel and electricity, Issoufou added.
The community also planned to dispatch a high-level delegation to Mali “to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order,” the president added.
The statement comes a day after soldiers leading the coup said they would take power on a “transitional” basis and announced the formation of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to lead the West African nation until elections are held.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the CNSP had forced Keita to resign live on television.
Mali’s stability has been threatened since April’s parliamentary elections, in which opposition supporters accused Keita of gross intimidation and vote-buying to secure his administration a firm majority.
Several attempts at talks between the government and the opposition have since failed.
The coup began early on Tuesday in the garrison town of Kati, 15 kilometres north-west of the capital, Bamako, and then moved into the capital.
Political instability in Mali is seen as a dangerous development for the entire Sahel region, which already faces ongoing threats from numerous terrorist and separatist groups.