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ECOWAS leaders to visit Mali, asks military junta to reinstate Keita’s government

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Leaders of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, have resolved to visit Bamako, Mali following the sack of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s government.

They also demanded that the military junta that seized President Keita and sacked his government reinstate him without further delay.

These were some of the resolutions of  ECOWAS leaders after an emergency summit called to review the situation in Mali on Thursday. They also announced plans to visit Bamako, the Malian capital, amid growing concerns about regional stability.

Keita was forced to resign in the early hours of Wednesday by soldiers who toppled his government on Tuesday.

Other resolutions taken at the extra-ordinary session are:

  • Firmness on the restoration of constitutional order;
  • Release of those arrested;
  • Stoppage of economic relations with Mali, with exceptions granted to staple foods, fuel and medication, for the sake of the people.

They also called for continued engagement with all parties to the crisis, and mandated former President Goodluck Jonathan, the Special Envoy on the crisis, and ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, to convey the decisions of the West African leaders to the parties.

The 15-nation bloc convened the virtual Extra-ordinary Session on the socio-political situation in Mali after it suspended it, shut off borders and halted financial flows in response to the overthrow of Keita.

President Muhmmadu Buhari advocated stiffer sanctions on the military regime to force a speedy return to democratic rule.

He lamented that the situation in Mali is a setback for regional diplomacy, which, according to him, poses a threat to the peace and security of the West African region.

The Nigerian President, who condemned the Malian military for breaching the very letter and spirit of the ECOWAS protocol on good governance and democracy, urged leaders of the region to ensure that the breach of protocol in Mali does not survive.

He called for the unconditional release of the ousted President, his Prime Minister and other government functionaries held with him.

Buhari hailed the African Union, AU, the United Nations, UN, and other international bodies for condemning the military coup and urged them to work with ECOWAS to restore peace and order in the country by insisting on the supremacy of constitutional provisions.

The President said: “The action of the military runs counter to the letter and spirit of ECOWAS Protocol on good governance and democracy in which unconstitutional change of governments is prohibited.

“The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government should not allow this dastardly act to stand. Nigeria stands by the provisions of the Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy.

“Mali has been in political turmoil since the results of the parliamentary elections were announced in March. ECOWAS interventions, through series of efforts by ministers, the special envoy and chief mediator and a group of heads of states of our organisation as well as an Extraordinary Summit did not yield positive results. Today, Mali has not only descended into political chaos, but also socio-economic and security disaster with potentially tragic consequences to Mali and the entire region.

“I am pleased that ECOWAS, EU, UN and France issued strongly-worded statements against the action of the Malian military. The events in Mali are great setbacks for regional diplomacy which have grave consequences for the peace and security of West Africa. I am pleased, therefore, that this extra-ordinary summit, holding to discuss pathways to the debacle we face today in Mali, is most timely and appropriate.

“The closure of borders already called for by ECOWAS should be our first line of action. We need to isolate a series of sanction regimes that can create and sustain sufficient pressures on the military to force a return to constitutional governance.

“The critical issues for resolution in the Malian crisis had been aptly captured as the four-point pathways to peace. Within that context, and if all parties to the crisis were to abide by those recommendations, the developments now on the ground would have been avoided.”

He added: “The action of the military in Mali has regrettably hoisted on us as a sub-region, the need to decide the options that will be consistent with the provisions of the Protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, which ECOWAS, AU and the UN subscribe to. In this context, therefore, Nigeria believes that President Keita and other detainees should be released unconditionally and with immediate effect.

“Furthermore, we strongly support the efforts of our Chairman, President Mahamadou Issoufou, for wider, regional and continental consultations with ECOWAS, AU and UN in adopting strong measures to promoting early restoration of constitutional order, peace and stability in Mali.

“Military involvement in governance, in whatever guise, is an aberration that has no place in managing the business of government that suspends the Constitution and with it, democratic institutions. It is time for the unconstitutional “authority” in Mali to act responsibly and do the needful by heeding to the above recommendations.”

The UN expert on human rights in Mali on Thursday condemned the arrest and detention of Keita in the military coup and called on the coup leaders to release him and members of his government and to protect their physical integrity as well as members of their families.

The United Kingdom (UK) on Thursday called for all parties in the crisis to engage in constructive talks aimed at easing tensions and re-establishing a civilian government in the West African nation, following a military coup.

“I call on all parties to maintain calm, ensure full respect for human rights, and engage in constructive dialogue to ease tensions. All those detained during these tumultuous events must be released immediately”, UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said in a statement.

The military operation by the French forces will continue in Mali, Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly said yesterday.

“The Barkhane Operation, asked for by the Mali population and authorized by the UN Security Council, continues,” Parly said on twitter.

About 5,000 French troops initiated the Barkhane Operation in 2014 in Sahel to help G5 Sahel countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – maintain control of their territory while also preventing the region from becoming a safe haven for Islamist groups.

Mali is already in the grip of a jihadist insurgency and civil unrest.

Within Mali, the M5-RFP coalition of opposition groups said it was working with the mutineers. It labelled ECOWAS’s initial response to the coup as an over-reaction stemming from some regional leaders’ fears that it could set off unrest in their countries.

Bamako was calm for the second straight day yesterday, as people appeared to heed earlier calls from junta spokesman Colonel Ismael Wague to return to work and go about their daily lives.

Some Malians also on Thursday welcomed the recent military coup and hoped that the power will finally be handed down to a civilian government, a member of workers’ trade union, Diawara Zainab Sidibe, told Sputnik.

“The hardest times are yet to come … For us, this is a start, a good start, and we welcome it. We hope that the military is telling the truth and will comply with its obligation to transfer power to civilians,” Sidibe said.

An activist of the opposition June 5 Movement, Imam Oumarou Diarra, believes that the Economic Community of West African States’ sanctions will not have a significant impact on the country.

Businessman Kiniko Albert, however, condemned the military coup.

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WORLD NEWS

Jilted taxi driver commits suicide after killing girlfriend who dumped him

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An investigation into the death of a 45-year-old taxi driver identified as Emmanuel Kwakye and his alleged girlfriend Georgina Lamisi Awuni Sayel has been initiated by the police in Cape Coast.

Kwakye’s lifeless body was found hanging on a tree at Bronyibima M.A. Basic school on Tuesday, September 22, while Sayel was also found dead in his room, a development that fueled suspicion of him committing suicide after killing his girlfriend of three years who ended their relationship.

The bodies were discovered after Kwakye’s friend filed a missing person complaint with the University of Cape Coast’s police station, Ghana.

It was gathered that a deep stab wound was found on Lamisi’s left rib with her bra and dress stained with blood. Further checks in the room revealed a kitchen knife with a bloodstain on it.

 

Jilted taxi driver commits suicide after killing girlfriend who dumped him

 

Insiders alleged that Kwakye and Lamisi dated for three years and he allegedly sponsored her tertiary education at the Ola College of Education in Cape Coast. Upon completing her tertiary education, Lamisi ended their relationship and left Kwakye heartbroken.

It is speculated that the jilted man killed his girlfriend out of vengeance as all effort to get her back was futile. Their bodies have been deposited at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital Mortuary.

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#Coup: ECOWAS court hears on Mali sanctions Friday

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice will on Friday begin hearing of the suit instituted by two Malian groups challenging the legality of the August 18, 2020 sanctions imposed on Mali following the military coup against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

A statement by the media unit of the ECOWAS Court stated that the suit was instituted by the two groups on September 9, 2020, against the ECOWAS Commission and Ivory Coast, one of the countries implementing the sanctions via closure of borders against Mali.
The statement added that the plaintiffs, Malian Coalition and the Consumers Association of Mali, both registered in the country, had filed interlocutory applications that would be heard on Friday.

The plaintiffs prayed the court in the applications to issue orders suspending the sanctions which were announced by the ECOWAS Commission and for the accelerated hearing of the substantive suit challenging the sanctions.

In the suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/36/20, the two associations claimed that the President of the Commission acted ultra vires in imposing the sanctions, as the procedure was not in conformity with the relevant ECOWAS texts under which sanctions should be brought against member states for failure to honour their obligations to the Community as this is reserved for Heads of State and Government of the Community.

The plaintiffs, who are being represented by Mr Modibo Diakite, Mr Oumar Tounkara, Mr Abdrahamane Diallo. Mr Maxime Poma and the law firm of SCP d’Avocats Do-Fini Consult claimed that the sanctions, which were enforced by neighbours Ivory Coast and Niger with the closure of their borders, were negatively impacting on a population already “bruised by insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic as well as poor governance.”

The groups claimed that the sanctions constitute not only the violation of the right of the people of Mali to the freedom of movement guaranteed in ECOWAS texts but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the economic, social, and cultural rights of Malian citizens in the community as well as their right to non-discrimination.

Among the reliefs sought is an order for the payment of compensation for prejudices suffered in the sum of 1,000,000 CFA francs for each individual, another 10,000,000 CFA francs for each legal person as well as the payment of the same amount for the violation of human rights.

They also prayed the court to order Ivory Coast to pay a symbolic 1 CFA to the plaintiffs for the violation of their human rights through the discriminatory treatment of Malians.
The statement added, “A three-member panel of the court comprising Honorable Justices Dupe Atoki (presiding), Keikura Bangura and Januária Tavares Silva Moreira Costa will hear the case.

“The proceeding can be followed via “Zoom” using the ID: 849 4983 1562 with the passcode: 650799 on Friday, September 25, 2020 by 10am.”

 

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Eiffel Tower evacuated for two hours after bomb threat —Police

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The Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated for two hours Wednesday after an anonymous caller threatened to blow up the great edifice in the heart of the French capital, police said.

After an inspection, nothing suspicious was found and the Eiffel Tower was able to reopen to visitors.

“A man phoned up, shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ and said he was going to ‘blow up everything’” at the Eiffel Tower, said a police source, who asked not to be named.

A security cordon was put around the monument, traffic diverted and the Eiffel Tower evacuated at 12:15 pm (1015 GMT).

Its operator SETE said in a statement that after a thorough search nothing was found and the tower was able to reopen at 2:15 pm.

The monument had reopened on June 26 after its longest closure since World War II forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Eiffel Tower usually receives about seven million visitors a year, some three-quarters from abroad, although even after reopening numbers are down sharply due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.

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