Mali junta wants three-year military rule, agrees to free president

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Mali junta wants three-year military rule, agrees to free president

This video frame grab image obtained by AFP from ORTM (Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision du Mali) on August 19, 2020 shows Malian military coup leaders, who seized power in Mali and pushed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to resign, during a press conference. - Mali awoke on August 19, 2020, to a new chapter in its troubled history after rebel military leaders forced Malian President Boubacar Keita from office, prompting its West African neighbours to threaten border closures and sanctions against the coup leaders. Keita, embattled by months of protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency, said he had resigned to avoid bloodshed. (Photo by - / ORTM / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /ORTM " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO RESALES

The junta says it 'completed the work' of the protesters and vows to stage elections 'within a reasonable time'

The junta that seized power in Mali wants a military-led transitional body to rule for 3 years and has agreed to release ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, a source in a visiting West African delegation said Sunday.

“The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” a source in the ECOWAS delegation in capital Bamako told AFP.

“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers” under the junta’s proposal, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The source added that the junta has agreed to “free president Keita,” who has been detained along with other political leaders since the coup on Tuesday, and he “will be able to return to his home” in Bamako.

“And if he wants to travel abroad for treatment, that is not a problem,” the ECOWAS source said.

Prime minister Boubou Cisse, who has been detained with Keita at a military base outside the capital where the coup began, would be moved to a secure residence in the city, the source said.

A junta official confirmed to AFP the decisions on the fate of Keita and Cisse, as well as that “the three-year transition would have a military president and a government mostly composed of soldiers.”

The coup followed months of protests calling for Keita to resign as public discontent with the government grew over the country’s brutal Islamist insurgency and collapsing economy.

While it was met by international condemnation, thousands of opposition supporters celebrated the president’s ouster in the streets of Bamako.

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The junta has said it “completed the work” of the protesters and has vowed to stage elections “within a reasonable time.”

However Mali’s neighbors have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the visit by the delegation from the regional ECOWAS bloc was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order.”

Tuesday’s coup was Mali’s second in 8 years, and has heightened concern over regional stability as its jihadist insurgency that now threatens neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso. –