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Buhari, three other West African presidents to visit Mali, begin peace mission

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

President Muhammadu Buhari will join four other West African presidents to Mali, to consult and engage stakeholders including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in discussions towards finding solutions to the crisis rocking the country.

Other presidents scheduled to visit the country and participate in the Bamako meeting on Thursday were Presidents Machy Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire.

Buhari and other presidents’ visit was confirmed through a statement made available to newsmen by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

According to the statement, the one-day visit is a follow-up to the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Special Envoy to the country, former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The statement added that after examining recommendations presented by the special envoy, Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the sub-regional organisation, President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, and other members agreed on the need for a peace mission to visit Mali.

It would be recalled that Jonathan had filled in President Buhari on his activities as Special Envoy to restore amity to Mali after citizens protested that President Keita should step down and not complete his five-year second term in office over alleged involvement in outcome of the recent parliamentary election.

After the briefing, Buhari said: “We will ask the President of Niger, who is the Chairman of ECOWAS to brief us as a group, and we will then know the way forward”.

Crisis erupted in the country after the court nullified results of 31 parliamentary seats in the polls held recently, awarding victory to some other contenders, which the resistance group said was at the instigation of President Keita.

Riots on July 10 had led to the killing of some protesters by security agents, causing the crisis to spiral out of control, hence the intervention by ECOWAS.

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