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Five West African presidents under the regional group Ecowas will head to Mali on Thursday for more talks towards resolving the country’s political crisis.
Previous efforts by mediators from the bloc were unsuccessful as Mali’s opposition insisted that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta must resign, citing widespread insecurity, corruption and the disputed legislative elections held in March.
At least 12 people have been killed in the past weeks in protests against the president in the capital, Bamako.
The delegation led by Niger’s President Muhammadou Issouffou, who is the head of Ecowas, is expected to hold talks with Mali’s political actors to try to end the protracted crisis there.
Other members include the presidents of Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
A team of negotiators earlier sent to resolve the crisis, led by former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, had ruled out removing President Keïta from office.
Instead, it suggested the formation of a national unity government – a proposal rejected by the opposition.
The regional body hopes the latest move will provide a solution. Analysts say if the political crisis is not properly managed, it could play into the hands of various armed militant groups in the country and the wider region.