President Julius Maada Bio has departed Sierra Leone this evening, Saturday, January 9, 2021 to attend an extraordinary ECOWAS Summit slated for Sunday 9th January 2022 in Accra on the political situation in Mali.

H.E Bio is expected to return to Sierra Leone on Sunday 9th January.

Recall that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had announced an extraordinary summit on Mali on January 9.

“An Extraordinary Summit on Mali will be held on Sunday, January 9, 2022, in Accra, Republic of Ghana,” Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Sputnik citing Commission statement reported.

According to the release, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and current ECOWAS chairman, has instructed a mediator to travel to Mali’s capital, Bamako, on January 5. Akufo-Addo had received a draft election schedule from the Malian delegation.

Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop announced in November that presidential and parliamentary elections initially scheduled for early 2022 in Mali would be postponed due to the volatile security situation across the country.

Mali has experienced two military coups in the past two years.

In August 2020, a group of Malian soldiers started a mutiny at the Kati military base near Bamako. Insurgents kidnapped several ministers and high-ranking military officials, including then-President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, who later dissolved the government and parliament.

In September 2020, the parties agreed on a transition period that would last for 18 months, leading to parliamentary elections. Bah N’Daw, a former defence minister, was appointed as interim president. However, in late May 2021, Mali saw its second coup, as then-Vice President Assimi Goita ousted the new president and prime minister for allegedly violating the transitional charter. He was appointed as interim president by the constitutional court and announced that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held in 2022.

ECOWAS, West Africa’s main political and economic bloc, has been pressing Mali to respect its commitment to hold presidential and legislative elections in February 2022. However, according to French media reports, the transition process in Mali could take up to five years to complete. (ANI/Sputnik)