By Victoria Ojeme
Army officers in Mali who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a military action has vowed to hold new elections after their action was denounced by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Mali is one of 15 (fifteen) members of the regional organization.
In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Col. Maj. Ismael Wagué.
“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“We, the patriotic forces grouped together within the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, have decided to take our responsibilities before the people and before history,” he said, vowing to maintain the stability of the state and public services.
Wague said the committee will implement a transition to civil political rule with elections held in a “reasonable amount of time.” He reassured that all international agreements will still be respected and that international forces including the U.N. mission in Mali and G5 Sahel will remain in place “for the restoration of stability.”
Meanwhile, ECOWAS has announced the suspension of Mali from all decision making bodies of ECOWAS as well as placing and economic and financial embargo on them.
ECOWAS has also urged member states to close all land and air borders with massive landlock Mali and as well calls for immediate implementation of sanctions against all military officers, their partners and collaborators who participated in yesterday’s military takeover until Constitutional order is restored.
The regional body also says it is dispatching a high-level delegation to Mali to ensure the return of Constitutional order.
Other international bodies and governments have also condemned the military action yesterday in Mali.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded the “unconditional release” of Mali’s leaders and the “immediate restoration of constitutional order”.
The chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he “emphatically condemns” the arrests of President Keïta and his prime minister.
The office of French President Emmanuel Macron “condemned the attempted mutiny under way” and his Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian urged the soldiers to return to barracks.
“The United States opposes any extra-constitutional change of government, whether by those on the streets or by the defense and security forces,” tweeted Peter Pham, the U.S. special envoy to the Sahel.
Meanwhile, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned late last night, hours after mutinying soldiers seized him from his home following months of mass protests against alleged corruption and worsening security in the West African country.
Speaking on national broadcaster ORTM just before midnight, Al Jazeera says a distressed Keita said his resignation – three years before his final term was due to end – was effective immediately. He also declared the dissolution of his government and the Malian National Assembly.