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African Union condemns ‘unconstitutional change’ in Mali

Chairman of the African Union and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday condemned the “unconstitutional change of government” in Mali and demanded the release of its leaders.

In his first official reaction since President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced out on Tuesday, Ramaphosa issued a statement demanding “the Malian military release from detention the president, the prime minister, ministers and other Government executives.”

Keita said Wednesday he had stepped down to avoid “bloodshed” after he was detained in a coup, whose leaders pledged new elections.

Ramaphosa called for the “immediate return to civilian rule and for the military to return to their barracks”.

He also urged other leaders in Africa and beyond to “denounce and reject” the military-led government.

Separately, Angolan leader Joao Lourenco tweeted that despite the reasons behind Keita’s ouster, “we repudiate and discourage this way of forcing the alternation of power.”

“In the middle of the 21st century, Africa must follow the example of Latin America, which has successfully overcome the tragic period of successive coups d’etat of the 1970s.”

“We hope that with the direct involvement of the African Union, the best ways to get out of the crisis will be found,” he added.