African Union condemns Mali coup, suspends country’s membership until ousted president is reinstated

AFRICAN Union has suspended Mali’s membership and its chair and South African President has strongly condemned the bloodless military coup in Mali and called on the soldiers to restore civilian power. 

Ramaphosa labeled the army’s action, which came after weeks of protests and was celebrated by Malians, as unconstitutional.

Malian soldiers took power after they forced  President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his cabinet and Parliament to resign. 

Ramaphosa demanded the release, from detention, of Keita, the prime minister, cabinet ministers and other government executives. He also called for an end to military rule and said the soldiers must immediately return to their barracks

A statement from his office said: “President Ramaphosa urged the people of Mali, political parties and civil society, to observe the rule of law and engage in peaceful dialogue in order to resolve their challenges.  President Ramaphosa further urged African leaders and the entire international community to denounce and reject the military-led unconstitutional change of government and to assist the people of Mali to return to civilian and democratic rule.”

Ramaphos’s statement came after soldiers who stage coup said they planned to form a civilian transitional government that will organise fresh elections.

In a statement broadcast on state-owned television early on Wednesday, a spokesman for the mutineers calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People said they had decided to act to prevent Mali from falling further into chaos.

Flanked by soldiers, committee spokesman Colonel Ismael Wague invited Mali’s civil society and political movements to join them to create conditions for a political transition that would lead to elections.

“Our country is sinking into chaos, anarchy and insecurity mostly due to the fault of the people who are in charge of its destiny,” he said.

The military coup has been condemned by Mali’s regional and international partners who fear Keita’s fall could further destabilise the former French colony and West Africa’s entire Sahel region. – Thomson Reuters Foundation and African Mirror Reporter.