Following ECOWAS’ suspensio of Mali over last week’s coup, the African Union has also suspended the West African country “until normal constitutional order has been restored.”
Contained in the communiqué of its 1001st meeting, the African Union Peace and Security Council on Tuesday said Mali risks being sanctioned if power is not returned to the civilian transitional government.
The AU said it “strongly urges the Malian military to urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks, and to refrain from further interference in the political processes in Mali.”
The communiqué further called “for the creation of conducive conditions for an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition, based on the agreed transition roadmap for Mali.”
If the country fails to comply, the council said it “will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions and other punitive measures against any spoilers of the current transition.”
The AU also called for the release of all political detainees, including the interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane who had been under house arrest since they were released from military detention after they were arrested last Monday in a coup led by vice-president Assimi Goïta.
Messrs Ndaw and Ouane were ousted from office barely nine months into their tenure as the head of a transitional government tasked with steering Mali back to civilian rule after a group of colonels, including Mr Goïta, toppled former elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August.
The leaders were held at a military base outside the capital Bamako and were released only after they had resigned from their positions, amid international backlash.
Following their resignation, Mr Goïta declared himself transitional president and said next year’s election would go on as planned. The constitutional court would validate his declaration a day later.