President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday urged disputing parties in the ongoing political crisis in Mali to settle their differences for the peace and unity of the country.
He made this call at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving his predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who currently serves as Special Envoy and ECOWAS mediator to Mali.
A military junta, led by Col. Assimi Goita sacked Mali’s Interim President, Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister, Moctar Ouane, last Monday, thus truncating the country’s transition process. The two leaders were also detained by the junta.
President Buhari said: “A situation where most parts of the country are in the hands of insurgents calls for a consensus and restoration of peace, not a further escalation of the crisis.”
Jonathan briefed the President on the current situation in Mali after meeting with the key political actors, ahead of the meeting of ECOWAS leaders under the Chairmanship of President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana.
Jonathan said the meeting of the regional leaders was necessary to urgently find an acceptable solution to the current impasse in that West African nation.
Mediation efforts by the former Nigerian President led to the release of the interim President and Prime Minister from detention by their captors.
Jonathan travelled to Bamako last Tuesday where he met with the military leaders and other stakeholders following the sudden turn of events in the transition process.
Jonathan’s statement reads in part, “The mediator and his team had on Wednesday, obtained the commitment of the military leaders to release Ndaw and Ouane, after visiting them at Kati Barracks, near Bamako where they were being held, to ascertain their health condition.
“Before visiting the President and Prime Minister in detention, Jonathan had met with Colonel Goita where he demanded their unconditional release and urged the authorities to maintain peace and stability which, according to him, are key to the conduct of the transitional process.
“The release of President Ndaw and Prime Minister Ouane early Thursday morning came three days after they were detained and stripped of their powers, and nine months after they were appointed to lead the transition government.”
Jonathan submitted a report about the situation in Mali to the ECOWAS leadership last Thursday.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja