Mali crisis: Jonathan arrives Bamako, assures on peaceful resolution
Aug 23 2020
Thousands of Malians took to the streets of the capital Bamako on Friday to celebrate the military ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, as West African envoys prepared to join diplomatic pressure to resolve the crisis triggered by the coup. But the coup was universally condemned overseas amid fears the unrest could plunge a country plagued by worsening insecurity into further instability.
Legit.ng gathers that the development comes a day after the military junta freed two government officials arrested during Tuesday, August 18 coup.
Jonathan is due to arrive Bamako, the capital city, on Saturday alongside 14 other leaders in the region to meet with the junta leaders.
"We arrived in Bamako this afternoon to continue with the Ecowas_Cedeao mediation and peace talks towards resolving Mali's protracted political crisis and restoring normalcy in this attractive West African country".
"We're going to discuss with all stakeholders and I think at the end of the day we'll come out with something that is good for the country, good for ECOWAS and good for the global community".
After extremists allied to al-Qaida took over the major centers in northern Mali, they implemented their strict interpretation of Islamic law, including amputating hands for those accused of theft. They are taking it very personally.
The military junta's leaders said Friday they have reopened air and land borders.
United States envoy to West Africa's Sahel region says decision on whether to formally designate removal of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita a coup had to go through a legal review.
The United States on Friday suspended military aid to Mali, with no further training or support of the Mali armed forces.
The coalition's Choguel Maiga told journalists "we will organise the biggest patriotic rally on Friday" in Bamako and nationwide in order to "celebrate the Malian people's victory".
The coup was led by army colonel Assimi Goita, who was introduced as Mali's new military strongman.
"We merely completed the work that you began and we recognise ourselves in your fight", he said.
"We thank the whole of the Mali people for their support", the Junta's spokesman told the crowds.
"Today, Mali has not only descended into political chaos, but also socio-economic and security disaster with potential tragic consequences to Mali and the sub-region", Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said.
The coup leaders had appeared on television overnight to pledge a political transition and new elections within a "reasonable time".
Junta spokesman Ismael Wague said in an interview with France 24 television on Thursday that the officers were meeting political leaders and activists to chart a way forward. They called for Mr Keita's resignation for perceived government corruption and incompetence in countering terrorism in the country. The protests turned violent in July when a crackdown by security forces during three days of unrest killed at least 14 protesters and bystanders, according to rights groups.
The fate of Mr Keita is still unclear.
The UN's peacekeeping mission in Mali announced that a human-rights team had gained access to the ousted president and other detainees late Thursday.
Anger swelled after the disputed outcome of legislative elections in April, leading to the creation of the anti-Keita protest coalition, the June 5 Movement.
The 75-year-old ousted president "looked exhausted but relaxed", they said, describing his conditions as "acceptable".