West African leaders add to pressure on Mali after coup

West African leaders arrived in Mali on Saturday to try to push for a speedy return to civilian rule after a military coup in the troubled nation.

The delegation, headed by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, planning to meet members of the new junta as well as ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Rebel soldiers seized Keita and other leaders after a mutiny on Tuesday, dealing another deep blow to a country already struggling with a brutal Islamist insurgency and widespread public discontent over its government.

Mali’s neighbours have called for Keita to be reinstated, saying the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to help “ensure the immediate return of constitutional order”.

A delegation official said they would meet members of the junta and later Keita, who is being held with prime minister Boubou Cisse in Kati, a military base northwest of Bamako where the coup was unleashed.

Adding to the international pressure, the United States on Friday suspended military aid to Mali, with no further training or support of the Mali armed forces.

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