Mali’s transitional president and prime minister have resigned after they were arrested by the military in what amounts to a second coup in nine months, an aide to the country’s ruling strongman and a member of an international mission said.
“President Bah Ndaw and his Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have resigned before the arbitrator,” Baba Cissé, the international mediation mission currently in Mali who also doubles up as a special adviser to Colonel Assimi Goïta said.
“Negotiations are underway for their release and the formation of a new government,” he added. A member of the international delegation speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that the transitional president had resigned.
An ECOWAS delegation on Wednesday morning went to the Kati military camp, about 15 km from Bamako, to meet the two leaders who have been held there since their arrest.
Colonel Goita, who holds the rank of vice president in the transitional government, accused Ndaw and Ouane of failing to consult him on the reshuffle.
“This kind of step testifies to the clear desire of the transitional president and prime minister to seek to breach the transitional charter,” he said, describing this as a “demonstrable intent to sabotage the transition”.
The transitional charter, a document largely drawn up by the colonels, sets down principles for underpinning Mali’s return to civilian rule.
Monday’s reshuffle came amid signs of discontent among the public, which had initially hailed the army for bringing down Keita.
The opposition M5 movement urged dissolving the interim government and demanded a “more legitimate” body.
By Eric Knight