The African Union (AU) has joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to condemn the interference in Mali’s politics by the army after the Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra was arrested by the army and ordered to resign from office. Dr Diarra resigned and dismissed his entire government on Tuesday after being arrested and taken to a barracks that served as headquarters for the former junta.
In March this year, coup leader Amadou Haya Sanogo, a 39-year-old American-trained captain ended two decades of democracy in Mali when he staged a coup d’état making himself supreme leader. Although the soldiers gave way to a civilian president and prime minister in April under international pressure, they have never been far from power.
The head of the AU commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma “firmly condemned” the conditions of Diarra’s resignation and repeated the demand “for the total subordination of the army and security forces to the civilian government.” The United States, France and the European Union have also condemned Diarra’s forced resignation and the United Nations Security Council said it could consider targeted sanctions against those preventing a return to ‘constitutional order’.
Fearing Mali has become a safe haven for terrorism and organized crime, West African leaders have signed off on a plan to send 3,300 soldiers to Mali to revamp its army and then support operations to retake the north. However, they did not say how that interference in Malian politics by the army would affect a plan for regional military intervention in northern Mali to help drive out Islamists and Tuareg separatists who seized two-thirds of the country in the chaos after a March coup.
Through the African Union, ECOWAS is seeking a U.N. mandate and international backing for the operation. But support for military intervention is not universal and analysts fear the fresh political turmoil in Bamako could further discourage international support for the plan. ECOWAS has also promised to pursue efforts to end the crisis and reunite Mali, “dismantling terrorist networks in the North, and organizing free, transparent and inclusive elections.” The AU’s peace and security commission will meets later today (Thursday) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to discuss the recent events in Mali. ECOWAS defense chiefs are due to meet in Ivory Coast on Saturday.