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Mali: Military wants three-year rule, agrees to free president

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The junta that seized power in Mali wants a military-led transitional body to rule for three years and has agreed to release the ousted president, a source in a visiting West African delegation and the rebel soldiers said Sunday.

Last week’s coup — Mali’s second in eight years — followed months of protests calling for Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign as public discontent with the government grew over the collapsing economy and a brutal Islamist insurgency.

“The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” a source in the ECOWAS delegation told AFP after talks with the junta.

“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers” under the proposal, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

A junta official confirmed to AFP that “the three-year transition would have a military president and a government mostly composed of soldiers”.

The source and the official added that the soldiers have agreed to free Keita, detained along with other political leaders since the coup on Tuesday, and he would be able to return to his home in the capital Bamako.

“And if he wants to travel abroad for (medical) treatment, that is not a problem,” said the source from ECOWAS, which stands for the Economic Community of West African States.

Prime minister Boubou Cisse, who has been held with Keita at a military base outside the capital where the coup began, would be moved to a secure residence in the city.

READ ALSO: 20 fleeing inmates killed in Madagascar prison

While the coup was met with international condemnation, thousands of opposition supporters celebrated the president’s ouster in the streets of Bamako.

– Talks in Bamako –

The junta has said it “completed the work” of the protesters and has vowed to stage elections “within a reasonable time”.

However, Mali’s neighbours have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the visit by the delegation from the regional ECOWAS bloc was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.

Tuesday’s coup has heightened concern over regional stability as Mali’s jihadist insurgency now threatens neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

The ECOWAS talks are set to resume in Bamako on Monday after two days of negotiations with the junta.

“We have reached a number of agreements but we have not reached agreement on all the issues,” Nigerian ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, head of the delegation, told reporters as Sunday’s discussions drew to a close.

Both the regional delegation and the military officers “want the country to move on” after the coup, he said. “We are just discussing the way forward.”

Jonathan met Keita on Saturday and said that he seemed “very fine”.

Keita won an election in a landslide in 2013, presenting himself as a unifying figure in a fractured country, and was re-elected in 2018 for another five-year term.

But he failed to make headway against the jihadist revolt that has left swathes of the country in the hands of armed Islamists and ignited ethnic violence in the country’s volatile center.

ECOWAS Commission chief Jean-Claude Kassi Brou expressed hope over the weekend that it would be possible to “finalize everything” on Monday, underlining the military’s “strong will to move forward”.

“We need results because, on August 26, the ECOWAS heads of state meet to say whether they will strengthen sanctions against the junta, or if the grip on them will be loosened,” said a member of the delegation.

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Flood: Argungu fishing venue submerged as youth embarks on direct labour to protect town

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The famous Argungu fishing festival venue, known as Matan Fada and it’s environment have been submerged by flooding as youths in the ancient town have commenced direct labour by blocking prune areas with bags full of sand.
It was gathered that other villages under Argungu Emirate affected by flooding including, Babuche, Alwasa, Felande, Alwasa, Gotomo, Tungar Marina, among others while three bridges in areas have been damaged.
Emirate Council and its youths, on Friday, embarked on director labour in collaboration with the Kebbi State Director Labour Agency (KSDLA) to protect the town from the flood in the areas.
While speaking with newsmen at the river bank on Friday, the Chairman of State Direct Labour Agency(SDLA), Alhaji Bello Dantani, said that the labour was in line with the directive of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, to avert the imminent collapse of the rivers.
According to him, “these rivers, if allowed or left unattended to, the flood will take over and submerge almost half of the Argungu, if not all the town. The flood has serious caused environmental hazards upon these villages and settlements like Alwasa, Felande, Alwasa, Gotomo, Tungar Marina, among others.
“My agency, in collaboration with the Argungu emirate council as well as the uncountable number of youth in the area, mobilised in earnest to salvage the river Tabarau which aggressively wanted to break its banks and overflow to upland,” he said.
Dantani warned motorists, especially heavy trucks against plying Gawo Bridge to restrict themselves because the bridge has been damaged by the flood.
“We are now waiting for our Engineers to finish their assessment and observations, so that, very soon normal transportation would continue as the government would do all it possible best to restore the bridge to normalcy,” he said.
Also, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan, the Representative of Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, said the direct labour had been the tradition of the emirate since time immemorial whenever flood occurred and thanked the chairman of KSDL for collaborating with emirate to protect the community.
Earlier, the Chairman Argungu local government area, Alhaji Musa Muhammad, promised to cooperate with the state government in any project directed to help his people.
“Our government buildings are open to everyone who lost their houses to flood as we are directed by the governor to immediately ensure that those that don’t have a place of living, should be immediately moved to government buildings such as primary and secondary schools.

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AREWA GROUP SPLITS, AS NORTH CENTRAL STATES FORM A NEW FORUM

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The Six North Central States of Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue, and Plateau on Wednesday announced the formation of a new regional organization, The North-Central Peoples’ Forum NCPF

Included in the bloc, is the Federal Capital Territory, which though is located within the North-Central region, is administered by the federal government.

Unveiling the new organization on Wednesday in Abuja, Chairman of the Board of trustees of the forum Lt.Gen Jeremiah Useni rtd. said that the formation of the North-Central Peoples’ Forum was because the people of the region have realized that the creation of regional blocs has become a reality in the Nigerian political space.

He said the forum would advance and protect the political interest of the people of the region within the Nigerian nation.

Formation of the North-Central Peoples’ Forum effectively breaks the Arewa bloc which has remained the umbrella organization for pressing and protecting the interests of the entire northern states in Nigerian politics.

Speaking at the inauguration of the forum in Abuja, former deputy senate president Ibrahim Mantu noted that the north-central region which plays a vital role in the stabilization of the Nigerian polity was being denied key political appointments

However, beyond the inauguration of the forum, the constitution of the new organization was also unveiled

According to Article 8 of the constitution which deals with membership, “Only indigenes of the six states and the federal capital territory can belong to the association”

This provision throws up the contentious issue of the indigene and settler population which has pitched the indigenous ethnic groups against the settler population in Benue and Plateau states

It raises the question, if the settler population, especially the Fulani nomadic population can belong to the North-Central Peoples’ Forum.

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Houses Demolished in Jabi Abuja (Video)

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