Mali: Abidjan Pulls Out All Stops to Bring Home Soldiers Held In Mali

The National Security Council (CNS) held an an extraordinary meeting in Abidjan, chaired by President Alassane Ouattara on September 14, 2022. The meeting agenda centred on the detention of 46 Cote d’ Ivorian soldiers in Mali. The CNS slammed as unacceptable blackmail, the request for the extradition of certain Mali citizens in exile in Côte d’Ivoire, in exchange for the detained soldiers.

In a press release, the presidential Chief of Staff Fidèle Sarassoro said that the government considered the soldiers’ arrest a legal matter. He added that the request from Mali authorities that the government extradites personalities who – according to them – benefit from the protection of Côte d’Ivoire, to destabilise Mali. “This request confirms once again the fact that our soldiers are in no way mercenaries, but rather hostages.

In addition, the CNS has instructed the Cote d’Ivoire Foreign Affairs Minister Kandia Camara, to ask the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for an extraordinary meeting of heads of state and government, to address the crisis between Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.

Sarassoro recalled the unsuccessful mediation by several heads of state in the sub-region with the Mali authorities. Several heads of state, including Faure Gnassingbé (Togo), Macky Sal (Senegal), Umaro Sissoko Umballo (Guinea Bissau), Colonel Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba (Burkina Faso), Mohammadu Buhari (Nigeria) and even the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, could not obtain the release of the soldiers through diplomatic channels.

You can find more news from our French team in Dakar, here.

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