The African Union has suspended Mali’s membership following the second coup in the Sahel nation within the past year.
The AU said it “totally rejects coups d’état and unconstitutional changes of government,” in a communique issued late Tuesday by the Peace and Security Council. The statement also called on the military to “urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks, and to refrain from further interference in the political processes in Mali.”
The decision comes after last week’s resignation of former transitional president Bah N’Daw and prime minister Moctar Ouane, who were removed from office and detained by forces aligned with Assimi Goïta. The AU also called for the release of both men, who remain under house arrest.
Goïta, the transitional vice president, assumed leadership in Mali but the AU further insists that neither Goïta nor his core team should stand as candidates in Mali’s presidential election next year.
The AU suspension follows the same decision made by the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at its meeting in Ghana on Sunday. ECOWAS has taken a leadership role in the mediation of Mali’s political crisis since longtime leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta resigned in August, also at the hands of military forces aligned with Goïta.
In addition to Mali’s suspension from ECOWAS, the regional leaders said they will establish a monitoring mechanism to ensure that an 18-month transitional period put in place after Keïta’s resignation is respected, and that the elections set for February 2022 will go forward.