ECOWAS Leaders Head To Mali On Peace Mission

Four ECOWAS leaders – Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, Alassane Ouattara of Cote D’Ivoire and Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana are expected in Bamako on Thursday, 23rd July, in continuation of the regional efforts to end the political crisis in Mali, official sources said.

The move follows several days of mediation by ECOWAS envoy to Mali, former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who on Sunday in Bamako unveiled his delegation’s recommendations, which were rejected by the opposition Coalition M5-RFP.

The Jonathan-led team proposed the setting up a Unity Government and the reconstitution of the Constitutional Court, among others.

But the opposition has called for continued anti-government street protests, insisting on the dissolution of Parliament and resignation of President Ibrahim Keita.

More than a dozen lives have been lost during the protests with the opposition groups also accusing the Keita government of detaining several of their leaders.

Veteran opposition leader Soumaila Cisse has gone missing after his abduction in March by unknown persons.

Mali has been under siege by terrorists and Jihadists operating from the country’s troubled Northern region fighting for independence.

The insecurity has extended to Central Mali and across its borders to neighbouring countries.

Incidentally, President Ouattara, part of the latest Mali peace mission also has serious political issues in his own country with uncertainty over the planned October 31 presidential election.

In the last three weeks, Cote d’Ivoire has lost its Prime Minister Amadou Coulibaly, the ruling party’s anointed presidential candidate, while Vice President Daniel Duncan also suddenly resigned.

It is unclear if Ouattara would go back on his word not to run for a third term in October, a decision that could reignite the ethno- religious and demographic divisions in the country.

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