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Mali: AU demands release of arrested leaders

Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the current president of the African Union, on Tuesday demanded the…

Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the current president of the African Union, on Tuesday demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the transition leaders arrested by the military in Mali.In a statement from Congo’s presidency, the African Union learned with “dismay” the arrest of the transitional president Bah Ndaw and his Prime minister, Moctar Ouane, by the military

“The current AU President demands the immediate and unconditional release of the personalities arrested and strongly condemns any action aimed at destabilizing Mali. He also calls on all the actors of the Malian political transition to restraint, as well as to respect the Constitution,” the same statement explains.

The two leaders spent the night in the hands of the military at the Kati military barracks, despite nightly mediations undertaken by some clerics.

Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane were picked up from their homes by armed officers, hours after the composition of the new government was unveiled. Indeed, thanks to the new reshuffle, two influential colonels who were members of the junta, which overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18, 2020, were left on the roadside. These two high-ranking officers are Modibo Kone, the Minister of Security and Civil Protection, and Sadio Camara, the Minister of Defense.

This dismissal of the two officers is indeed a strong move by the transitional president and his Prime Minister who are keen on respecting the 18-month transition deadline imposed by the international community to return power to civilians.

In mid-April, the transitional authorities announced the organization of a referendum on a constitutional revision on October 31 and the holding of the presidential and legislative elections between February-March 2022, to allow a return to constitutional order.

African Union Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat denounces what he sees as “an act of extreme gravity” in a tweet, insisting that the pan-African organization is closely monitoring the situation in Mali.

“The AU heads of state strongly condemned this act, which can in no case be tolerated under its relevant provisions and ask the soldiers to return to barracks” he denounced in his message. Moussa Faki Mahamat added that the African Union calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the authorities held incommunicado, and calls on the Malian parties to favor dialogue.

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