President Muhammadu Buhari and his West African counterparts are currently meeting about the crisis in Mali. The meeting was held on Thursday, August 20, at the Council Chamber of the presidential Villa, Abuja.
The extraordinary summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS is holding virtually.
He is being joined by some top government officials including the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada; and Minster of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd.), among others.
Rebel soldiers took President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse into custody on Tuesday and drove the pair to a seized military base on the outskirts of Bamako.
The talks, which had been announced the day before, are being chaired by the president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, it said.
Keita’s overthrow came after months-long protests in which ECOWAS — the Economic Community of West African States — had tried unsuccessfully to play a mediating role.
The bloc proposed setting up a unity government that would include representatives of the protest movement, but it stood by the 75-year-old Keita. The package was rejected by the opposition.
ECOWAS comprises 15 members, including Mali, but within hours of Keita’s overthrow, the group announced it was suspending the country from its internal decision-making bodies.
It also said its members would close land and air borders to Mali and pledged to demand sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”.