West African heads of states under the regional bloc ECOWAS, held an emergency virtual summit on Thursday demanding for the reinstatement of Ibrahim Baboucarr Keita as Mali’s leader. President Keita was ousted in a military coup on Tuesday by members of the arm forces
The leaders said they would send envoys to Mali to help secure “the return of constitutional order.” The regional committee has already placed Mali under suspension and closed all borders to stop any form of trade due to the coup.
According to Reuters, ECOWAS plans to send a delegation of presidents to Mali’s capital, Bamako. The team is to include President of Niger, Macky Sall of Senegal and Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo, to seek a resolution to the crisis.
“We have decided to immediately send a high-level delegation in order to ensure the immediate return of constitutional order,” said ECOWAS at the end of a video summit.
In a closing remark, chairperson of the group, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger said, “We call for the restoration of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as president.” He further added that through the talks, ECOWAS would “convey to the military junta leaders that the times of taking power by force are over in this region.”
“Mali is in a critical situation, with serious risks that a collapse of the state and institutions leads to reversals in the fight against terrorism and organized crime, with every consequence for all our community… this country needs our solidarity even more,” Issoufou told the coup leaders.
The 75-year-old President Keita has been in power since 2013 and won a second term in 2018 but has since lost favor with the now disgruntled population. He was arrested and detained on Tuesday along with his Prime Minister and other government officials.