Mali: AU Demands Release Of President Keita, Other Detained Officials

The African Union is calling for the release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other government officials forcibly detained by the military who took over the country after a coup.

Keita, embattled by months of protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency, said he had resigned late on Tuesday just hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint.

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

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

“African Union Peace and Security Council suspends Mali from African Union until restoration of constitutional order and demands release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Prime Minister & other government officials forcibly detained by the army,” the AU’s Peace and Security Department tweeted on Wednesday.

The suspension comes shortly after the African Union Chairman President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the unconstitutional change of government in Mali and called for an immediate return to civilian rule and for the military to return to their barracks.

Last year in June, the Peace and Security Council also suspended Sudan after the removal of Omar al-Bashir from office to pressure the Transition Military Council to handover power to a civilian-led transitional authority.

The Council also threatened to impose sanctions on individuals and entities obstructing the establishment of the civilian-led transitional authority.

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