ECOWAS special envoy to Mali and former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, will today lead West African leaders to coup-torn Mali to find lasting solution to the insurrection in that country.
Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Keita, was on Tuesday overthrown by mutinying troops, who took him and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other senior officials into custody.
Jonathan had that same Tuesday briefed Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, on the crisis in that country.
Jonathan told Buhari that calls by the main opposition in Mali, M5-RFP, for President Keita to resign cannot be acceptable to African Union (AU), United Nations (UN) and others.
He said the group was adamant on its call for the resignation of Keita.
The coup sent shockwaves around West Africa, sparking fears that one of the region’s most volatile states, and a front line in the fight against jihadism, could collapse.
Keita, who later appeared in a state television broadcast on Wednesday, declared the dissolution of the government and National Assembly and said he had no choice but to resign with immediate effect.
He announced his resignation and dissolved parliament, saying his decision to quit became necessary to avoid bloodshed.
But according to an AFP, Jonathan, who is ECOWAS Special Envoy to Mali, alongside 14 other leaders in the regional bloc, will be in the Malian capital of Bamako today for peace talks with the junta leaders, including Assimi Goita who has declared himself head of the junta.
Reacting to the request for a meeting with the leaders, a junta official told AFP that they were ready to receive the West African leaders.
“We will receive the ECOWAS delegation with pleasure… it is important to talk to our brothers”, he stated.
The world and regional leaders had condemned in strong terms the coup attempt in Mali by the mutinying soldiers.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Mali from the regional body following the military coup that culminated in the ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Miffed by the coup d’état, ECOWAS in a statement asked all its members to close land and air borders to Mali.
It said sanctions will be meted out against “all the putschists as well as their partners and collaborators”.
But the mutinying troops troops remained adamant, with Assimi Goita, a Colonel in the Malian Army, declaring himself head of the “National Committee for the salvation of the People”, a group created by rebels in that country.
Goita who is one of the five soldiers who announced the formation of the salvation committee announced his new position after a meeting with top civil servants.
Amid condemnation from the international community, the rebel soldiers, who overthrew Keita in a coup d’etat that drew, pledged yesterday to restore stability and oversee a transition to elections within a “reasonable” period.
Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, a spokesman for the coup plotters calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, said they acted to prevent Mali from falling further into chaos.