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A West African delegation, led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, arrived in Bamako, Mali on Saturday. She first spoke briefly with the leaders of the junta who pushed the head of state Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to withdraw from power. The ECOWAS envoys then exchanged in the evening with the deposed president.
A West African delegation arrived Saturday, August 22 in Bamako, where it met with the leaders of the junta. She also met ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, four days later the military coup who knocked him down.
The delegation, dispatched by the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) “to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order” and led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, landed at the beginning of the afternoon at the airport in the Malian capital, AFP journalists noted.
She was received when she got off the plane by Colonel Malick Diaw, number 2 of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), the body set up by the military to lead the country, and by the spokesperson of the junta, Ismaël Wagué.
Achieve “something good for the country”
Goodluck Jonathan said he was confident that the discussions would lead to “something good for the country, good for ECOWAS and good for the international community”.
In the afternoon, the delegation met at the Ministry of Defense for about 30 minutes with the leaders of the CNSP, including with the new strongman of the country, Colonel Assimi Goïta. The ECOWAS team then left without making a statement. The military junta, which seized power in Mali on Tuesday, pushed President Keïta, known as “IBK”, in power since 2013, to announce his resignation on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday.
Coup d’Etat in Mali: ECOWAS meets the military junta and ex-President Keïta
In the evening, the members of the delegation then met President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in the evening. “We have seen President Keïta,” said Goodluck Jonathan, who said of him: “It’s okay”. “The talks are going well,” he added.
Only three of its members were allowed to meet, in an undisclosed location, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, in the hands of the junta since Tuesday. According to a source close to the junta, the deposed president was discreetly transferred from Kati, a garrison town on the outskirts of Bamako which has become the center of the new power, in Bamako on Saturday.
In Kati, the West African envoys must “visit the personalities arrested” by the military, including Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, the President of the National Assembly Moussa Timbiné, and the army chief of staff, General Abdoulaye Coulibaly.
The junta has held since Tuesday about fifteen senior civil and military officials, including also the president of the National Assembly, Moussa Timbiné, and the army chief of staff, General Abdoulaye Coulibaly.
The delegation will meet on Sunday morning the ambassadors in Mali of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (France, United States, Russia, United Kingdom and China), according to its program obtained by AFP.
The neighboring countries of Mali, meeting in extraordinary summit, demanded Thursday the “restoration” of President Keïta and decided to send this delegation to Bamako. This is the fourth for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan since the start of the socio-political crisis that is shaking Mali.
Elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2018, President Keïta was strongly contested in the street and a motley opposition movement demanded his resignation.
Four Malian soldiers killed on Saturday in the Center
As political and diplomatic discussions continue in Bamako, four soldiers were killed and one seriously injured Saturday morning by an explosive device in the center of the country, according to military and administrative sources. The inability of the Malian state to control large parts of its territory in the North and the Center has been denounced for months by opponents of President Keïta.
Denounced by the international community, the military coup did not arouse any notable opposition in Bamako. The military in power, who have promised to set up a “political transition”, were acclaimed Friday by thousands of opposition supporters, who have been demanding the departure of the head of state for three months.
Saturday morning, a few dozen supporters of President Keïta tried to demonstrate in Bamako, before being dispersed by the police.
“We are here this morning to show that we do not agree with the coup. But people came to attack us with stones, then the security forces took advantage of this aggression to disperse our activists, “Abdoul Niang, an activist from the Convergence of Republican Forces (CFR), told AFP.