The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on Thursday condemned “in strong terms” the reported coup d’etat by Malian rebel soldiers, who took over control of the country from the democratically-elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure.
Renegade Malian soldiers went on state television on Thursday morning to declare that they had suspended the nation’s constitution and seized power in a coup after the government failed to quell a nomad-led rebellion in the north.
The soldiers of the newly formed National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CNRDR), led by Amadou Konare, read out a brief statement stating that “the CNRDR … has decided to assume its responsibilities by putting an end to the incompetent regime of Amadou Toumani Toure.”
“We promise to hand power back to a democratically elected president as soon as the country is reunified and its integrity is no longer threatened,” said Mr Konare, flanked by about two dozen soldiers.
A nationwide curfew was subsequently declared “until further notice”.
The West-African country has struggled to contain a northern rebellion launched late last year by local Tuareg nomads in which dozens have been killed and nearly 200,000 civilians have fled their homes.
President Jonathan, who expressed displeasure and dismay over the action of the renegade troops, described the move as “an apparent setback to the consolidation of democracy in Mali in particular and the African continent in general.”
He warned the coup plotters to allow the on-going democratic process in the country to run its full course and not to do anything that would truncate the electoral process especially the presidential election slated for next month.
Also the ECOWAS Commission in a statement by the President, Désiré Kadré Ouedraogo, strongly condemned what it called the “misguided actions of the mutineers” and warned that it will not condone any recourse to violence as a means of seeking redress.
ECOWAS noted that it has been following the unfolding events in Bamako with dismay and mounting concern, following the mutiny by a section of the military at the Kati Barracks on the outskirts of the capital city.
The disturbances sparked by elements within the armed forces are all the more reprehensible, coming amidst the on-going regional and international efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the rebellion in the north of the country, and a day after a special ministerial session of the AU Peace and Security Council on the matter ended in Bamako.
ECOWAS reminds the military of its responsibility under the Constitution, and reiterate its policy of “Zero Tolerance” for any attempt to obtain or maintain power by unconstitutional means.
The sub-regional group warned that it will “respond appropriately to any attempts to further disturb the precarious security situation.”