President of Mali’s Transitional Government, Retired Colonel Bah Ndaw, was detained on Monday along with Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defence Minister Souleymane Doucoure after a cabinet shuffle in a deepening of the country’s political crisis.
The three officials were arrested a taken to the Kati military base, outside the capital, Bamako.
Condemning the action and calling for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the detainees, the regional economic grouping, ECOWAS and the African Union’s Mission in the Sahel (MISAHEL) urged the “military to return to their barracks.”
Their joint statement also called on the international partners to support the efforts by the ECOWAS and the AU toward the success of the political transition in Mali.
The leadership of the 15,000-strong United Nations Mission in Mali, MINUSMA has equally issued a similar statement, while Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan, the ECOWAS chief mediator on the Mali crisis is expected to return to Bamako on Tuesday. He was in Bamako last week, and in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, on Monday, attending a meeting for the reconstitution of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise on conflict management.
The Mali transitional government was put together following the 18th August 2020 military coup that ousted the government of elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The arrest and detention of trio took place hours after two military cabinet members were dropped in a government shake-up.