At least three Malian soldiers have been killed and five more injured as a result of the militants’ attack on a military unit in the central part of the country, the army said in a statement.
The army is said to have captured two military vehicles left at the site of the attack.
The situation in Mali was significantly destabilised in late August over a coup that began on the Kati military base near the capital of Bamako.
The rebels detained President Ibrahim Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and some other senior government officials.
Keita then announced his resignation and dissolution of the parliament.
Later, he was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Nigeria will support consolidation of democracy in ECOWAS countries – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged that Nigeria will within the limits of resources do her best to support the consolidation of democracy in West African countries.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja, said Buhari stated this when he hosted President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso, who was on a one-day official visit to Nigeria, on Thursday.
He said: “We are keeping tabs on situations in countries that have elections ahead.
“We know the countries that are calm and the ones where there have been unfortunate casualties. We will always support those who have elections ahead, so that things can go smoothly.’’
Burkina Faso holds legislative elections in November.
Kabore, who chairs the Economic, Trade and Liberalization Scheme of ECOWAS, said he was in Nigeria to discuss crucial sub-regional issues with Buhari.
These include the convening of a joint commission meeting between Nigeria and Burkina Faso, reported trade difficulties among Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Benin, and Niger Republic, and the way forward.
Kabore commended Buhari for what he called “strong leadership and support” displayed by the Nigerian leader in his capacity as Chairman of COVID-19 response in West Africa.
“I must also applaud your strong leadership against terrorism in the sub-region,” the Burkinabe Leader said.
On the situation in Mali, Kabore expressed hope that the summit held in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday, would yield positive results, stressing: “We need cohesion all over West Africa.”
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Mali’s governing body given one week to put in place demands of ECOWAS
“The CNSP has been given a week to comply with their (ECOWAS) demands before the sanctions placed on the country cann be lifted,’’ Ismael Wague said during a press briefing on ECOWAS’ mini-summit held in Accra, capital of Ghana.
Wague added that ECOWAS threatened to impose a total embargo if their demands are not met, which includes a civil political transition in the nation.
“We told the ECOWAS clearly that we are at the service of the people. Since the majority spoke of a military transition, we suggested that we could go in that direction. They refused,’’ he said.
CNSP’s President Assimi Goita went to Accra on Tuesday with a delegation to explain to ECOWAS heads of state and government the conclusions of the national consultations held Sept. 10 to 12, and to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Mali.
Wague said that the two sides did not reach any agreement regarding the issue of power transition in Mali.
“There was no agreement on the transition in Accra. It was not our mission. We went to share with them (the ECOWAS) the results of the consultations, but not to go and sign an agreement.
“We told ECOWAS that we could not decide right away and that we will come back and discuss in accordance with what is in the Transition Charter,’’ he said.
According to the Transition Charter, which was adopted by some 500 participants from different forces of the nation after three days of the consultations, the eventual transitional president will be either a military or a civilian, appointed by a commission set up by the CNSP.
“The trip to Accra is not necessarily a failure, since Goita was expressly invited by president of Ghana.
“It is a form of recognition,’’ Wague said.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/ Peter Dada
Ethiopian Airlines resume flights from New Jersey to Abuja, Lagos
Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has resumed passenger flights from New Jersey, United States, to Lagos and Abuja.
This follows the recent reopening of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Sept. 5.
Mr Million Legesse, Ethiopian Airlines’ Traffic and Sales Manger in New York told the News Agency of Nigeria that the flights would operate from the Newark Liberty International Airport.
Legesse said all preparations had been made, including strict COVID-19 and other health measures, for passengers’ safety and comfort.
NAN reports that Ethiopian Airlines is one of the 13 that secured government’s approval to fly into the country following the resumption.
According to Legesse, the indirect flights will be operated by the airline’s new Boeing B787-800 aircrafts.
“The total flight time to Nigeria is about 13 hours with short connection time at Togo which is 1 hr 30 mins,” he said.
“We have west African connections to other countries, Mali, Benin Senegal, Cameron, Liberia, Niger, with short connections,” he said.
The Federal Government suspended international flights on March 23 as part of efforts to check spread of the coronavirus.
This, in addition to travel restrictions by other countries, left many Nigerians stranded in different parts of the world.
The government had to intervene by organising special evacuation flights to repatriate those on short-term visits abroad.
Ethiopian Airlines operated all nine evacuation flights from the United States that saw the repatriation of 2,322 stranded Nigerians.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Mali must appoint civilian govt. immediately, says regional bloc
Mali’s military coup leaders must hand over power to a civilian transitional government immediately, the chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said on Tuesday.
The chairman said this in Accra as a deadline expired for the ruling junta to appoint interim leaders.
The 15-member ECOWAS imposed economic sanctions after the Aug. 18 overthrow of President Ibrahim Keita, and said a new president should be appointed by Tuesday.
But the junta pushed through a charter on Saturday that says the interim president can be a soldier or a civilian and has not yet indicated when the new government would be named.
Regional presidents met junta leaders on Tuesday in Ghana in an attempt to quicken the transition.
“Today is supposed to be the day that the junta is to put in place a government, which should respond to the criteria we set out in August.
“That has not been met,” said Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, the acting ECOWAS chair, before the start of talks.
Regional leaders fear the coup could set a dangerous precedent in West Africa and undermine a fight in Mali and neighbouring countries in the Sahel region against militants with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State.
“That country can no longer afford any delay in putting a responsible government in place,” he said.
West African leaders have not said what the consequences would be for failing to meet the deadline.
The existing sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows.
The charter approved at multi-party talks in Mali also calls for an 18-month transition, while ECOWAS had said that fresh elections should be held within a year.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim