Detained Mali’s president, prime minister released
Mali’s military authority has released interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane from detention following former President Goodluck Jonathan’s intervention.
Ikechukwu Eze, Mr Jonathan’s media aide, disclosed the release of the Malian interim president and his prime minister from detention in a statement made available in Abuja on Thursday.
The statement said Mr Jonathan, who is the mediator of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Mali, had travelled to Bamako on Tuesday to meet with the military leaders and other stakeholders.
“This was after the sudden turn of events in the transition process that led to the detention of the two leaders by the military under the control of Vice President Col. Assimi Goita.
“The mediator and his team had on Wednesday obtained the commitment of the military leaders to release Ndaw and Ouane.”
The statement noted that the commitment came after Mr Jonathan visited the Mali military leaders at Kati Barracks, near Bamako, where Messrs Ndaw and Ouane were being held, to ascertain their health conditions.
“Before visiting the President and Prime Minister in detention, Jonathan had met with Colonel Goita where he demanded their unconditional release.
“He urged the authorities to maintain peace and stability which, according to him, are key to the conduct of the transitional process.
“The release of Ndaw and Ouane early Thursday morning came three days after they were detained and stripped of their powers, nine months after they were appointed to lead the transition government.”
Messrs Ndaw and Ouane had been heading the interim government under the transition charter with the aim of restoring full civilian rule within 18 months.
The development came a day after military officials said the country’s transitional president and prime minister had resigned while in detention.
According to the statement, the mediator, who left Mali on Thursday is billed to present a report to the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government for further decisions to be taken on the new situation in Mali.
Mr Jonathan was accompanied on the mission by Ghana’s foreign minister and chair of ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou.
Others were ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Francis Benhazin, United Nations Special Representative in Mali, El Ghassim Wane, and Head of African Union Mission for Mali and the Sahel, Fulgence Zeneth
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