Army Mutiny: ECOWAS suspends Mali, borders shut

Soldiers on the streets of Bamako Mali

Soldiers on the streets of Bamako Mali on Tuesday. ECOWAS shuts borders

Soldiers on the streets of Bamako Mali: ECOWAS shuts borders

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said on Tuesday it has suspended Mali membership and also closed its member states’ borders with the country.

The decision came after mutinous soldiers detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

ECOWAS said in a statement it was also suspending all financial flows between its 15 members and Mali and suspending Mali from its decision-making bodies.

It called on the ECOWAS commission to impose sanctions on the “putschists and their partners and collaborators”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the arrest of Mali President Ibrahim Keita and top government officials and called for their immediate release.

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“The Secretary-General calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali,’’ UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Also, the AU Commission condemned the arrests and called for the immediate release of both leaders.

Mali has been struggling to maintain stability since tens of thousands of opposition supporters accused Keita of gross intimidation and vote-buying during a parliamentary election in April, which gave his administration a firm majority.

Soldiers started mutiny early Tuesday in the garrison town of Kati, 15 kilometres north-west of Bamako. Gunfire was heard in the capital.