The Federal Government of Nigeria has condemned the detention of Malian President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane by the military.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, the Federal Government also demanded an “unconditional release” of the Malian officials.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria condemns in strong terms the detention of the duo of interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane of Mali.
“The two key officials in the transitional government of Mali were reportedly taken by soldiers to the Kati Military Camp near the Capital, Bamako on Monday, 24th May 2021.
“The action is totally unacceptable and might derail the peace-building efforts and timetable for the return of democratic governance in Mali,” the statement read in part.
Nwonye added that the key actors and perpetrators of the condemnable act should be aware of the fact that stakeholders in the region and friends of Mali reject any act of coercion of the detained officials, including forced resignations.
The reaction by the Federal Government of Nigeria comes amid fears of a military coup in Mali following the detention of the officials.
Their detentions followed a sensitive government reshuffle earlier on Monday that was designed to respond to growing criticism of the interim government.
It has triggered condemnation by many including the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is calling for calm and their unconditional release.
“I am deeply concerned by news of detention of civilian leaders of the Malian transition. I call for calm & their unconditional release,” Guterres said on Twitter.
EU leaders have also condemned the situation, describing it as the “kidnapping.”
The Council’s President Charles Michel said, “What happened was grave and serious and we are ready to consider necessary measures.”
Earlier, a joint statement by the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, the European Union, and the United States condemned the arrests and called for their “immediate and unconditional liberty”.