The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the detention of Mali’s leadership by the military as the transitional President and Prime Minister resigned.
The council members on Wednesday called for the safe, immediate and unconditional release of all the officials detained and urged the defence and security forces elements to return to their barracks without delay, said the Security Council in a press statement.
They reaffirmed their support to the civilian-led transition in Mali and called for its immediate resumption, leading to elections and constitutional order within the established 18-month timeline.
The statement called on all Malian stakeholders to prioritise building trust, engage in dialogue and be willing to compromise to achieve these objectives.
It affirmed that imposing a change of transitional leadership by force, including through forced resignations, is unacceptable.
Mali’s transitional President, Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane were reportedly taken by force on Monday to the Kati military camp following the transitional President’s announcement of his appointment of members of the government on the proposal of the Prime Minister.
The transitional President and Prime Minister have resigned, Baba Cisse, Special Adviser to Assimi Goita, Malian transitional Vice President and President of the former National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), said on Wednesday.
They will be released from detention gradually, Cisse added. He justified the arrest of N’Daw and Ouane by “deep differences both on the form and substance concerning the course of the transition.”
The leadership’s resignations came as a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by former Nigerian President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, visited Mali to press the military to back down.
According to military sources, Jonathan met with Goita, who would have announced his decision to lead the transition from now on with a prime minister proposed by the Movement of June 5-Rassemblement des Forces Patriotiques du Mali (M5-RFP), a political force backing the large demonstration that eventually led to the mutiny last year.
Colonel Sadio Camara, former Minister of Défense and Veterans Affairs, Colonel Modibo Kone, former Minister of Security and Civil Protection and influential members of the dissolved National Committee for the CNSP that overthrew then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita were not in the new government, which was thought to be the main reason for the leadership’s detentions, local media reported.
Observers say the resignation by the leaders of a transitional government could risk plunging the nation into further instability.