African Union suspends Mali after military coup and threatens sanctions

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The African Union has suspended Mali’s membership in response to last week’s military coup and threatened sanctions if a civilian-led government is not restored, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The military arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane last week and pressured them to resign, derailing a transition to democratic elections after another military coup last August ousted the previous administration.

Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led the August coup and last week’s revolt, was declared president on Friday.

The African Union called for “an unimpeded, transparent and swift return to the civilian-led transition … failing which, the Council will not hesitate to impose targeted sanctions,” the AU’s Peace and Security Council said.

Mali’s neighbours and international powers fear the latest revolt will jeopardise a commitment to hold a presidential election in February, and undermine a regional fight against Islamist militants, some of which are based in Mali’s desert north.

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