The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) voted at an emergency summit Sunday to suspend Mali from the bloc following the second coup in nine months by the country’s military.

The decision came as West African heads of State met in Ghana’s capital Accra to discuss the prevailing sociopolitical crisis in Mali and to determine the next course of action for the transitional government.

On May 24, transitional President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained by soldiers but released three days later, with the military claiming they had resigned.​​​​​​​

The detentions amounted to Mali’s second coup within a year after army officers led by Colonel Assimi Goita overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last August.

The latest coup had given rise to several inquiries from the African and international communities.

On Saturday, the Constitutional Court appointed Goita as president following the resignation of N’Daw and Ouane.

At Sunday’s summit, the bloc decided to suspend Mali and called for the “immediate appointment of a new civilian prime minister” and the formation of an “inclusive government,” according to an official communique.

“The suspension from ECOWAS takes effect immediately until the deadline of the end of February 2022, when they are supposed to hand over the baton to a democratically elected government,” Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey was quoted as saying by the local press.

The member states also demanded the respect of the transition period and the date of Feb. 27, 2022, already announced for presidential elections.

“A monitoring mechanism will be put in place to this effect” while “the vice president and the prime minister of the transition should not be candidates in the next presidential election,” ECOWAS added.

The return to Mali within a week of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who was named special envoy to Mali lead mediation efforts, was also announced.

“Hasty sanctions against Mali will only make the Malian people more precarious. It is important to support Mali in making its transition a success. The stability of the region beyond is at stake,” said Mali’s Minister of Youth and Sports Mossa Ag Attaher said on Twitter.

Prior to the summit, Goita had already expressed his desire to appoint a prime minister from within the Movement of June 5 Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), the protest movement that initiated the first mobilizations against President Keita on June 5, 2020. This was Friday during a meeting with the political parties of Mali.

The M5-RFP has chosen Choguel Kokala Maiga, the former Minister of Trade and Industry. Source: Anadolu Agency