Coup; United States suspends military cooperation with Mali

The coup plotters, who overthrew the democratically elected government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Mali, continued to face international sanctions with the United States the latest to hit the junta hard.

The powerhouse, on Friday, said it had suspended cooperation with Mali’s military over the overthrow of the president despite thousands of Malians in the capital celebrating the junta’s takeover.

With Keita’s overthrow, Mali’s international partners are afraid gains in the crisis-hit former French colony and West Africa’s entire Sahel region would be destabilised.

“Let me say categorically there is no further training or support of Malian armed forces full-stop. We have halted everything until such time as we can clarify the situation,” the U.S. Sahel envoy J. Peter Pham told journalists.

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The United States regularly provides training to soldiers in Mali, including several of the officers who led the coup.

It also offers intelligence support to France’s Barkhane forces, who are there to fight affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Pham said a decision on whether Washington would designate the actions a coup, which could trigger a cut-off of direct support to the government, had to go through a legal review.

A Pentagon spokesperson referred on Friday to the events as an “act of mutiny”.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to Mali has met representatives of the junta, Russian state news agency RIA reported.

France said on Thursday that Barkhane’s operations would continue despite the coup.

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Also, a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), led by Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, is expected to arrive in Bamako on Saturday, after the bloc held an emergency summit aimed at reversing Keita’s ouster.

ECOWAS has already suspended Mali’s membership, shut off borders and halted financial flows to the country.

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