By Vatican News staff writer
Mali’s interim president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane resigned on Wednesday, two days after they were arrested by the military, an official said.
Soldiers put the two civilian officials under arrest on Monday in the Kati army base outside the capital Bamako, hours after a government reshuffle that saw two senior army officials replaced.
The military’s actions have drawn international outrage from several quarters, amid a deepening political crisis and an already tense standoff with international powers.
This latest development means that for the second time in ten months, Colonel Assimi Goïta has seized power in the West African nation after leading last year’s military coup and becoming the vice-president of the interim government.
Outrage from AU, UN and ECOWAS
The local transition monitoring committee made up of ECOWAS, the African Union (AU) and the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), with members of the international community including the US, France and the EU expressed their deep concern at the situation in Mali.
In a joint statement on Monday, they strongly condemned “the attempted coup that occurred following the publication of the decree appointing members of the government by the President of the transition on the proposal of the Prime Minister.”
They also called for the release of the officials and stressed that “the military elements detaining them will be held personally responsible for their security.”
The transition monitoring committee further went on to reaffirm its support for transitional authorities and urged them to resume their course in order to be concluded on schedule, adding that the international community “rejects in advance any act imposed by coercion, including forced resignations.”
In the same vein, the UN Security Council on Wednesday “strongly condemned the arrest of the transitional president and other officials by elements of the Defence and Security forces in Mali” and called for their “safe, immediate and unconditional release.”
An ECOWAS delegation led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan also met with Col. Goïta late Tuesday.
The crisis in Mali
Tensions between the civilian government and the army have been constant since the ouster of then-president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August last year. Keïta was removed from power following weeks of anti-government protests over several issues including rising insecurity, corruption, and a failing economy.
In a broadcast on Tuesday, the 38-year-old Col. Goïta accused the civilian transitional leaders of failing in their duties and described the government reshuffle which replaced the military officials as an attempt to sabotage the nation’s transition toward democracy.
Both Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane had been charged by Mali’s interim government to oversee the nation’s return to civilian rule over an 18-month period.