African Union suspends Mali over recent coup

Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of Malian military junta, attends the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consultative meeting in Accra, Ghana.

The African Union has suspended Mali’s membership in response to last week’s military coup and threatened sanctions if a civilian-led government is not restored, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The military arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane last week and pressured them to resign, derailing a transition to democratic elections after another military coup last August ousted the previous administration.

Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led the August coup and last week’s revolt, was declared president on Friday.

The African Union called for “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition … failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions,” the AU’s Peace and Security Council said.

Mali’s neighbours and international powers fear the latest revolt will jeopardise a commitment to hold a presidential election in February, and undermine a regional fight against Islamist militants, some of which are based in Mali’s desert north.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS suspended Mali on Sunday.

The African Union suspended Mali after last August’s coup but reinstated the country a few weeks later after the heads of the new civilian-led transitional government were announced.

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