Mali - Cote d’Ivoire - Security

UN urges release of Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali

APA-Bamako (Mali)

The United Nations has called for the release of Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali.

The UN is not on the same page as the Malian transitional authorities in the case of the 46 Ivorian soldiers being detained in Bamako.

 On Monday September 26, the UN Secretariat called for their “urgent release.” 

This call by the United Nations comes 72 hours after a speech by the interim Prime Minister of Mali, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, to the UN General Assembly, reminding Secretary General António Guterres that “the judicial characterization of offences related to this case does not fall within” its remit.

 Speaking on the issue, Guterres had said that the Ivorian soldiers were not mercenaries. 

However, Bamako considers them as such.

 On Thursday September 22, the conference of heads of state of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, decided to send without delay to Bamako a high-level mission consisting of the presidents of Senegal, Togo and Ghana to obtain "the unconditional release" of the soldiers.

They are accused of “attempting to undermine the external security of the state.” 

Macky Sall, Faure Gnassingbé and Nana Akufo Addo are expected in Bamako later this week.

 Reiterating its “deep appreciation for Cote d’Ivoire’s contribution to peacekeeping operations and to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA),” the UN “strongly supports efforts to facilitate the release as well as the restoration of confidence and the promotion of good neighbourliness between countries.”

 The beginning of a way out of the crisis was possible after the release of three of the 49 soldiers arrested on 10 July at the Modibo Keïta Sénou-Bamako International Airport.

But receiving the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Friday September 9, the transitional president, Colonel Assimi Goïta insisted that the release of the 46 Ivorian soldiers can only take place in exchange for Malian political fugitives living in exile in Cote d'Ivoire.

The Ivorian authorities have decided to approach ECOWAS to mediate the dispute.

 


AC/te/lb/as/APA

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