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Mali’s military mutineers plan civilian transitional government, country descends into chaos as ECOWAS activates Standby Force

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Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan arrives in Bamako, Mali during his mediation tour

WED, AUG 19 2020-theG&BJournal-A villa belonging to the son of the deposed president was looted,  diplomats and top government officials have fled and several soldiers as well as the country’s parliament speaker have been arrested and hundreds of thousands of Malians are running riots on the streets of Bamako and other cities across the country.

‘’The situation is still fierce,’’ says one diplomat in Bamako who says he is on his way out of the country. It is still unclear who is in charge of the country but the military is holding sway on the streets of country’s cities and towns.

Reports say the soldiers who executed the coup, plan to form a civilian transitional government that will organize fresh elections.

Moussa Fakki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Tuesday in a statement, condemned the forced detention of the President, Ibrahim Boubacar, who announced late last night that he is resigning as president of the country after 7 years in power ‘’as he does not wish blood to be shed’’ following the military mutiny.

Fakki Mahamat said that he ‘’strongly rejects any attempt at the unconstitutional change of government in Mali’’ and called on the mutineers to cease all recourse to violence and to respect the country’s institutions.

He also rallied the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations (UN) ‘’and the entire international community to combine our collective efforts to oppose any use of force as a means to end the political crisis in Mali.’’

ECOWAS also has issued a statement of condemnation and reminded the mutineers of their accountability for the safety and security of the President. It also demanded ‘’the immediate release of the President and all officials arrested.’’

The Commission said it is also suspending Mali from all ECOWAS decision-making bodies with immediate effects, ‘’until effective reinstatement of constitutional order.’’

It also decided to close all land borders, as well as to stop all economical, trade and financial flows and transactions between ECOWAS Member States and Mali, and encourages all partners to do the same. It most importantly activated the ECOWAS Standby Force.

Massive demonstrations has gripped the country since early this year with protesters calling for the removal of French forces and against government’s mismanagement of the country’s resources and failure to deal with political tensions that rose out of a hugely controversial elections.

Former Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele  Jonathan was appointed ECOWAS’ Special Envoy to Mali in July as the country’s political tussle turned sour, to help mediate the tension. After an initial three-day mission to Mali in mid July, Jonathan and his mediation team recommended the formation of a government of national unity with members drawn from different interest groups in the country, including the ruling coalition, the opposition parties and the civil society.

It also recommended the establishment of a technical committee to be set up by ECOWAS to monitor the implementation of the proposed measures which also include the reconstitution of the dissolved constitutional court as well as the resolution of the dispute over 31 legislative seats set aside by the defunct constitutional court.

The Malian opposition alliance demanding the resignation President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s called off a high-risk scheduled protest following the mediation efforts of Jonathan and his team, and a meeting with the influential imam Mahmoud Dicko, a popular cleric and prominent force behind the protest movement. The move was then seen as a positive sign towards resolving the rift.

It is not certain what triggered the Tuesday mutiny in the gold producing country with no gold reserves despite 50 gold mines.

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