August 24, 2020
Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday held talks for half an hour with soldiers who through a coup d’état took over power in Mali last week Tuesday trying to push for a speedy return to civilian rule.

According to an AFP news source, ECOWAS is working to meet ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who is being detained outside Bamako by the military junta.

Mali’s neighbours have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.

“ECOWAS appreciates what is happening in Mali and ECOWAS wants the best for the country,” Jonathan said after his arrival.

“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 international community.”

An official of the delegation said they would meet Keita, who is being held with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in Kati, a military base northwest of Bamako where the coup was unleashed.

Adding to the international pressure, the United States on Friday suspended military aid to Mali, with no further training or support of the Mali armed forces.

Speaking at the rally, Ismael Wague spokesman for the junta which calls itself the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, paid tribute to the public.”We merely completed the work that you began and we recognize ourselves in your fight,” he said.

The junta has said it welcomes the ECOWAS visit but has not talked of restoring Keita to power.
“A transitional council, with a transitional president who is going to be either military or civilian” would be appointed; Wague told France 24 television Thursday.

Keita won election in a landslide in 2013, presenting himself as a unifying figure in a fractured country, and was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term.

But he failed to make headway against the extremist revolt that has left swathes of the country in the hands of armed radicals and ignited ethnic violence in the country’s volatile center. Thousands of UN and French troops, along with soldiers from five Sahel countries, have been deployed to try to stem the bloodshed.

In a sign of the continuing challenge facing the country, four soldiers were killed Saturday by an explosive device in the center of the country.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/