UN demands release of Ndaw, Ouance Mali's detained leaders

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Mali junta leader Assimi Goita holding Ndaw and Ouance
Mali junta leader Assimi Goita holding Ndaw and Ouance


By Cecilia Ologunagba/New York

The United Nations (UN) Security Council has demanded the immediate release of Mali’s President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

It said the military junta would be held responsible for their safety.

In a statement released after an emergency meeting, the security council condemned in strong terms the arrest of the transitional president and other officials by elements of the Defence and Security forces in Mali.

The Security Council called for the safe, immediate and unconditional release of all the officials detained and urged the defence and security personnel to return to their barracks without delay.

“They also reaffirmed their support for the civilian-led transition in Mali and called for its immediate resumption, leading to elections and constitutional order within the established 18-month timeline agreed following the coup last year.

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“They called on all Malian stakeholders to prioritise building trust, engage in dialogue, and be willing to compromise to achieve these objectives.

“They affirmed that imposing a change of transitional leadership by force, including through forced resignations, is unacceptable,” the statement said.

The UN Security Council had met behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the derailment of Mali’s transitional government following the apparent forced departure of both the president and prime minister on Tuesday, by the leader of last August’s military coup.

According to news reports, the detention on Monday of top civilian leaders by Col. Assimi Goita – acting Vice President – who led the overthrow of former president Ibrahim Boubacr Keita last year, was because they had failed to consult him over a government reshuffle.

News of their arrest on Monday was met with concern by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who said his Special Representative in the region was working closely with the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, and others supporting the transition.