The African Union Peace Commission has suspended Mali from the continental organisation and demanded for the restoration of order.
The Peace and Security Department on Wednesday further demanded for the immediate release of toppled leader Ibrahim Keita.
African Union chairman and South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has also condemned the coup and demanded that the Malian military releases from detention the President, the Prime Minister, ministers and other senior government executives.
“President Ramaphosa calls for an immediate return to civilian rule and for the military to return to their barracks,” a statement by the AU Chair office said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, soldiers took up arms in the garrison town of Kati and detained senior military officers, sparking fears of a coup. Witnesses later said soldiers had surrounded Keita’s private residence and took him away.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People “decided to take responsibility in front of the people and of history”, Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff Ismael Wague said in a state television broadcast.
But Ramaphosa told Malians, political parties and civil society, to observe the rule of law and engage in peaceful dialogue in order to resolve their challenges.
“President Ramaphosa further urged African leaders and the entire international community to denounce and reject the military-led unconstitutional change of government and to assist the people of Mali to return to civilian and democratic rule.,” the statement added.
STATEMENT ON UNCONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT IN #MALI
Chair of the @_AfricanUnion, His Excellency President @CyrilRamaphosa has learnt with concern of developments in the Republic of Mali which have led to the forced resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. pic.twitter.com/qu95cCvFOv
— AUChair2020 (@AUChair2020) August 19, 2020
On Tuesday, AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemned the military take over.
“The chairperson strongly rejects any attempt at the unconstitutional change of government in Mali and calls on the mutineers to cease all recourse to violence, and calls for the respect of the country’s institutions,” Faki said in a statement.
The AU and other African regional organisations have in recent years moved more systematically and firmly to uphold democratic values.
The AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), first decided to reject military coups in 1999. When the OAU transformed itself into the AU in 2002, the new organisation’s founding Constitutive Act included among its principles “condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government.”