African Union Suspends Mali Following Coup

Kamilla Sorskar Engen, Head of International Affairs

1 Jun 2021

Last week, the military staged a revolt to overthrow the administration, arresting interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and attempting to compel them into resigning. This most recent coup comes after another military coup in August 2020, which ousted the previous administration - further disrupting the possibility of democratic elections from taking place.

Assimi Goita, the former vice president and colonel who headed both the coup last August and last week, was named president on 28 May. Meanwhile, the AU’s Peace and Security Council appealed for “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition... failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions.”

Similarly, on 30 May, the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held an emergency meeting in Accra, Ghana, in response to the Malian military overthrowing the president and prime minister for the second time in less than one year. ECOWAS suspended Mali from the organisation but did not impose sanctions like it did after the revolt last August. According to Ghanaian foreign minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the suspension from ECOWAS “takes immediate effect until the deadline of the end of February 2022”, when its interim leaders “are supposed to hand over to a democratically elected government.” The United Nations (UN) also condemned the insurrection, with the UN Security Council stating that Ndaw and Ouane’s resignations were coerced. Additionally, the European Union and France threatened sanctions against the country.

Mali’s neighbouring countries and other international bodies are concerned that the latest coup will threaten the commitment to hold presidential elections in February, as well as destabilise and weaken the regional fight against Islamist armed groups.

Read more about the situation in Mali here: