The African Union announced that it had suspended Mali’s membership in response to the second military coup in less than a year, and threatened sanctions if the civilian-led government did not return to power.
In a statement, the African Union Peace and Security Council said the union called for a “rapid, transparent and unhindered return to civilian-led transition. If this does not occur, the council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions.”
The African Union suspended Mali’s membership after the coup last August, but reinstated it a few weeks later, after announcing a new civilian-led transitional administration.
The army arrested interim President Bah Ndao and Prime Minister Mukhtar Wan last week and pressured them to resign, blocking a political transition through democratic elections, after another military coup last August toppled a previous administration.
Mali’s neighbors and international powers fear that the latest rebellion will jeopardize the commitment to hold presidential elections next February, and undermine the fighting of armed groups, some of which are based in the desert north of Mali.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Mali’s membership last Sunday.