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ECOWAS lifts Mali’s post-coup suspension

By News Desk, with agency report

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has lifted the sanction imposed on Mali after the removal and subsequent detention of former President, Boubacar Keita, by mutineer soldiers in August.

The body comprising West African leaders had in response to the mutineer soldiers’ action suspended Mali from its decision making bodies and ordered all member countries to close land and air borders with the country and also demanded immediate release of all cabinet members detained alongside the president.

As stated, the coup came after months of anti-Keita protests over the country’s worsening security situation, chronic economic malaise, and alleged electoral malpractices.

Announcing its decision through a statement on Tuesday, ECOWAS said that the decision was to support handover to civilian rule and restoration of democratic government.

“Heads of state and government have decided to lift sanctions in order to support the handover to civilian rule,” the terse statement said.

It noted that the nomination of retired Colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president and former Foreign Minister Moctar Ouane as prime minister of the transition that is expected to last 18 months. The move came a day after Ndaw, who was sworn in last month, appointed a 25-strong government tasked with leading the country to elections.

At least four central cabinet posts – defence, security, territorial administration and national reconciliation – went to military officials. One of the August 18 coup leaders, Colonel Sadio Camara, was named defence minister, while Colonel Modibo Kone got the security and civil protection portfolio. Colonel Ismael Wague, who broke the news of the coup in a dramatic night-time television broadcast, was appointed national reconciliation minister.

Civilians were also appointed to the transitional government, including former prosecutor Mohamed Sidda Dicko as justice minister and former ambassador Zeini Moulaye as foreign affairs minister.

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