Mali’s membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been suspended with West African leaders calling for the appointment of a new prime minister.
Mali’s newly-appointed Interim President Col. Assimi Goita left for Ghana on Saturday, to participate in an ECOWAS summit on Sunday. Earlier in the week, a Sputnik source said that the military had arrested interim President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and transported them to the Kati military base near the capital of Bamako.
“After extensive discussions on the situation in Mali, the Heads of State and Government took the following decisions: … Decide to suspend Mali from ECOWAS Institutions in line with ECOWAS provisions; Call for a new civilian Prime Minister to be nominated immediately,” ECOWAS said on Sunday.
The bloc said that a “new inclusive government” should be formed in Mali to proceed with the transition program that will last 18 months.
“…the date of 27 February 2022 already announced for the Presidential election should be absolutely maintained. A monitoring Mechanism will be put in place to this effect,” ECOWAS stressed.
According to the West African bloc, the head of the transition, the vice president and the prime minister of the transition should not be candidates for the upcoming election under any circumstances.
Goita said earlier in the week that he had dismissed the president and prime minister for violating the transitional charter. A military source told Sputnik that Goita had informed ECOWAS that a military council would assume power in Mali.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that France could withdraw its troops from Mali if it falls into radical Islamism.
“Radical Islamism in Mali with our soldiers there? Never,” Macron told The Journal du Dimanche, explaining that there is a “temptation” in Mali to drift in that direction, and if it does happen “I will withdraw.” Macron said he had warned West African leaders not to back a country “where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition.”
In August 2020, a group of Malian soldiers started a mutiny at the Kati military base. Insurgents kidnapped several ministers and high-ranking military officials, including former President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, who later dissolved the government and parliament.
On September 12, the military approved the basic law and strategy for transition after consultations with political and civil figures. The parties agreed that the transition period would last eighteen months. Bah N’Daw, a former defense minister, was initially appointed as president for that period.