Former President Jonathan Leads West African Leaders To Mali

Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan will on Saturday leads a delegation of West African leaders to Mali.

The delegation is to engage in discussions with the leaders of the military junta to return power to a constitutional government

Keita, 75, dissolved his government and resigned under pressure from soldiers who detained him hours after they staged a mutiny at an army barracks on the outskirts of the capital, Bamako.

Previous mediation efforts by Ecowas failed to resolve the impasse between Keita’s government and a popular protest movement that has demanded he step down.

Leaders of the protest have held talks with the junta since it seized power and insist that Keita can’t return to office.

“He cannot be reinstated, you saw the people dancing and cheering in the streets when IBK resigned. Right now, he’s safer with the soldiers”, Mountaga Tall, a prominent member of the coalition of civil society groups and opposition parties, known as M5, said.

The junta, known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, said it will pick a successor to Keita from its own ranks or from the opposition.

Keita assumed office in 2013 after winning an election on pledges to restore state authority nationwide, 16 months after his predecessor, Amadou Toumani Toure was ousted. That coup was staged from the same barracks where Tuesday’s mutiny started and organized by junior officers angry about the lack of resources needed to fight Tuareg separatists. The subsequent power vacuum was exploited by al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups who seized control of the north.

Further instability in Mali could be exploited by Islamist insurgents in the north who have staged increasingly violent attacks in the region despite the presence of a 15,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force.