West African leaders to hold talks on Mali crisis

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Chris Ewokor BBC News

Leaders of the West Africa regional grouping Ecowas will hold an extraordinary summit on Monday to propose measures to resolve the political crisis in Mali.

The virtual summit comes after two missions to Mali’s capital, Bamako, failed to reconcile the government of embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and opposition groups demanding his resignation.

The head of Ecowas, Niger’s President Muhammadou Issoufou had on Friday said he will be pushing for “strong measures” to help resolve the crisis.

The opposition coalition, a group called M5-RFP, has rejected a proposal for the formation of a national unity government – insisting that President Keïta must resign and a transitional government be set up.

Ecowas leaders have however insisted that any change of government in Mali must follow a constitutional process.

There are indications that the Mali crisis could have serious implications for regional security and stability. Many are concerned that the situation could play into the hands of armed groups in the country and the wider region if not properly managed.

President Keïta was elected in 2013. He appears to be facing his biggest political challenge so far with the current crisis.

Around a dozen people were killed in a series of anti-government protests in the past weeks – with the security forces accused of using excessive force on demonstrators.