Mali Coup Leader Seeks Three Years Rule, Set To Release Keita

Colonel Assimi Goita, the Malian military officer and the leader of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, who led a coup that ousted elected President Boubacar Keita government last week, wants a three-year transitional body, with military officers playing a prominent role.

The military junta has, however, agreed to release Keita, who has been in detention alongside other politicians since the coup, and move the erstwhile Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse, to a secure residence in the country.

Keita would also be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.

The military junta plan, according to AFP, is set to bring a collision with the opposition coalition, on one hand, and the leadership of the Economic of West Africa States [ECOWAS], which has zero tolerance for military rule, on the other.

The opposition coalition had led unrelenting protests against Boubacar Keita government before the military takeover.

“The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” AFP quoted a source in the ECOWAS delegation in capital Bamako as saying.

“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers” under the junta’s proposal, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) headed by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan are holding closed-door talks with the new junta in a bid to return the country to civilian rule.

“We have reached a number of agreements but we have not reached agreement on all the issues,” Jonathan told reporters.

Both the regional delegation and the military officers “want the country to move on” after the coup, he said.

“We are just discussing the way forward.”

The talks lasted around nine hours on Sunday and were set to continue on Monday.

“We reached compromise on certain aspects and the negotiations will continue tomorrow,” spokesperson for the junta, Colonel Ismael Wague, said.

Neither delegation specified which points they had agreed on or what the outstanding issues were.

However, sources quoted by media suggested the fate of detained President Keita and the details of a transition to civilian rule were a key focus of discussions.

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