Economic Community of West African States Orders Closing of Regional Borders with Mali

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On 18 August, a group of officers from the armed forces of the landlocked West African nation of Mali began a mutiny, reportedly capturing the country’s president and prime minister and taking control of the capital Bamako.

ECOWAS said in a statement on Tuesday night that it had suspended Mali from its decision-making bodies and called for sanctions against ‘putschists and their partners and collaborators’.

The regional organization also ordered the suspension of all financial flows between West African states and the country.

The mutiny started at the garrison town of Kati, with a group of high-ranking military officials, including Colonels Diaw and Camara, Mama Sekou Lelenta as well as General Cheick Fantamadi Dembele, posing as its leaders, according to local media reports.

The rebellious Armed Forces units had kidnapped the president of the Malian parliament, Moussa Timbine, as well as the economy and finance minister, Abdoulaye Daffeallegedly, and had allegedly detained Malian Foreign Minister Tiebile Drame, Malian media said.

The Kati military base is one of the largest in Mali and includes a military hospital and military academy where students are provided military training in addition to basic education. In 2012, the base was the epicentre of the coup which led to the overthrow of former President Amadou Toumani Toure.

The military mutiny comes in the wake of weeks of protests starting 5 June, when opposition forces critical of President Keita’s alleged failure to deal with corruption and restore order in the country amid escalating jihadist and inter-communal violence took to the streets.

Sputnik

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