A team from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) met with the transitional government in Mali to discuss the status of the 46 Ivorian soldiers who have been held there since July 10.

The mission includes the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, the foreign minister of Togo, Robert Dussey, and the mediator for Mali, Goodluck Jonathan. Malian military president, Col. Assimi Goita, welcomed the Ecowas leaders despite shifting the planned visit two days forward. 

Driving the news
Since 10th of July, Mali has detained 46 Ivorian soldiers. The Soldiers according to Ivory coast were cleared as part on the UN mission in Mali. Mali had argued that they landed without permission and so were mercenaries.

Different bodies had called for their release including UN but Mali only released the three female soldiers in the group on humanitarian grounds. They still hold on to 46 more. This row has affected relationship between Mali and Ivory coast and other international bodies.

Why is this happening?
Two years ago, Mali’s military conducted a coup toppling the Democratic government and coming into power. Foreign bodies have called for elections and a return to democracy but Col. Assimi Goita has ignored the calls.

This led to Sanctions from ECOWAS.

Well, what next?
Umaro Sissoco Embalo, the chair of Ecowas, had made a suggestion that Mali would face new sanctions if it kept the 46 Ivorian soldiers in detention. Abdoulaye Diop, the foreign minister of Mali, declared that his nation will defy any order to release the soldiers who were thought to be mercenaries.

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