Coup d’état: Nigeria Charges Mali to Immediately restore constitutional order
NEWSMAN, Abuja – Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has reacted to the coup in Mali on Tuesday, which saw Soldiers ousting Mali’s President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
“The Nigerian Government unequivocally condemns the coup d’état that took place in Mali yesterday and demands the immediate and unconditional restoration of constitutional order. We welcome the urgent activation of the ECOWAS Standby force”, Onyema said in a Tweet.
Mali’s President Keita had on Tuesday Night resigned and dissolved parliament, hours after the coup leaders detained him at gunpoint.
“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice? (I must) submit to it, because I don’t want any bloodshed. I hold no hatred towards anyone, my love of my country does not allow me to, May God save us. ” Keita said In a brief address on state television.
Meanwhile, Spokesman for the soldiers, Colonel-Major Ismael Wague who tagged themselves as the “National committee for the salvation of the people”, said they acted to prevent the country falling further into chaos, adding that they didn’t want to stay in power.
“As of today, all air and land borders are closed until further notice. A curfew is in place from 09:00 to 17:00 until further notice. We are keen on the stability of the country, which will allow us to organise general elections to allow Mali to equip itself with strong institutions within the reasonable time limit. The social and political tension has undermined the proper functioning of the country for quite a while,” said Wague.
“Mali descends into chaos day by day [with] anarchy and insecurity because of the fault of the people in charge of its destiny. Real democracy doesn’t go with complacency, nor weakness of the state authority, which must guarantee freedom and security of the people.” Wague added.
Keita, 75, came to power in 2013 following the Bamako coup d’etat, promising to bring peace and stability and to fight corruption. He won reelection for a second five-year term in 2018, but since June, he has faced huge street protest over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and a dispute over legislative elections, plus there has also been anger among troops about pay and the conflict with jihadists.
After taking over the camp, about 15km (nine miles) from Bamako, the mutineers marched on the capital, where they were cheered by crowds who had gathered to demand President Keïta’s resignation, BBC reported.
On Tuesday afternoon they stormed his residence and arrested the president and his prime minister – who were both there.
The president’s son, the speaker of the National Assembly, the foreign and finance ministers were reported to be among the other officials detained.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari alongside some ECOWAS leaders had in July travelled to Bamako, Capital of Mali on a peace-keeping mission but the meeting with the protest leader, Imam Dicko, ended in a stalemate.
The United Nations and African Union both reacted to the coup, calling for the release of those held by the soldiers.
The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), also said its 15 member states had agreed to close their borders with Mali, suspend all financial flows to the country, and eject Mali from all Ecowas decision-making bodies. In recent months, Ecowas has been trying to mediate between Keïta’s government and opposition groups.
A member of Mali’s opposition M5 movement, which has held protests against Keïta for the past few weeks, welcomed his resignation.
Prof. Ramata Sissoko Cisse told the BBC World Service: “I think it’s a relief for the Malian people and for all the citizens of Mali to finally hear from the president that because of the lack of support of the Malian people he finally accepts to resign, to give back power to the people.”
Mali is currently battling to contain a wave of jihadist attacks and ethnic violence.