Malian military junta tells ECOWAS special envoy ousted President cannot be released because he may flee country

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The military junta in Mali has told the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) special envoy that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita would not be released now because he may flee the country.

“They call themselves National Committee for the Salvation of the People. We asked them to allow ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to return to his personal residence, where he would be given tight security, but they said he could travel abroad, and not return to answer questions they may have for him,’’ ECOWAS Special Envoy Goodluck Jonathan told Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.

“We also told them that what would be acceptable to ECOWAS was an Interim Government, headed by a civilian or retired military officer, to last for six or nine months, and maximum of 12 calendar months. The Interim Government would then organize elections to restore full constitutional order,” Jonathan, a former Nigerian President himself, added, according to a statement by the Nigerian presidency.

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The President of Republic of Mali H.E. Mr. AIbrahim Boubacar KEITA has arrived in Sochi to take part in the Russia–Africa Summit. Photo: Egor Aleev/TASS
The President of Republic of Mali H.E. Mr. AIbrahim Boubacar KEITA has arrived in Sochi to take part in the Russia–Africa Summit.Photo: Egor Aleev/TASS

Dr Jonathan disclosed that his team was allowed to meet with the ousted President, who confirmed that he resigned voluntarily, adding that he was no longer interested in returning to his former position.

He added that the military leaders want ECOWAS to lift sanctions put in place, as it was already affecting the country, “but we told them that the authority to do such was only in the hands of ECOWAS heads of state”, the statement added.

President Buhari said the priority for Mali now should be securing the country, which is largely occupied by terrorists.

“About two-thirds of Mali is occupied by terrorists, and it makes common sense to secure the country, rather than pursuing individual interests,” he said, according to the presidency.

He said the sub-region would take a common position on the issue when the leaders meet on Friday, hoping that an amicable and generally acceptable position to all interested parties would be arrived at.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

2 COMMENTS

  1. Please don’t be fool to yourself, going to Mali for negotiations is like leaving your house roof licking and neglects it and go to your neighbours house for repair. The issues in Nigeria is more than the Malians , lets us be wise Nigerian’s

  2. It is very funny that Goodluck Jonathan decided to embark on such a journey! You can’t be an inter-state negotiate just because you were a former president, alone. Nigeria is now a laughing stock among African States; her soldiers are killed in the North East; killings in the North West, Biafra threats and killings in the East; APC shabby politics in Edo State; in fact, the Malian junta were polite enough to allow them audience. I am sure Nigeria has more issues that all African states combined, and need therefore, not bother about small Mali over constitutional impasse. Jonathan needed not have taking that kind of risk. He could have been adopted or killed, and heaven would not fall. Nigeria is incapable of defending her territory, and the World’s Policeman is being disabled by the enemies within – the Democrats and some wayward African Americans.

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