Mali’s ousted former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, left the country for treatment in the United Arab Emirates, more than two weeks after his removal by a military junta in the capital, reported Africa News.
The 75-year-old Keita was hospitalized in the capital Bamako on Tuesday, six days after he was released from detention by the military rulers, who seized power on August 18. The coup followed mass protests against his rule over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy, and a dispute over legislative elections.
In an interview with Reuters, Keita’s former chief of staff, Mamadou Camara, said the former president left Bamako on Saturday evening on a plane chartered by the UAE at the request of Mali’s military rulers.
“It is a medical visit of between 10 and 15 days,” Camara said.
In related news, Mali’s military government started talks with opposition groups on Saturday on its promised transition to civilian rule after mounting pressure in recent weeks to yield power.
The military government’s leaders, who overthrew President Ibrahim Keita in a coup in August, pledged to step down after an undefined transition period. It says it will step down in two years, but West African leaders want a quicker transfer of power.
“Since August 18, we are charting a new history for our country,” Malick Diaw, one of the main military government official told the opening session.
Saturday’s summit was originally planned for last weekend but was called off after a quarrel between the military and the June 5 Movement (M5-RFP), which spearheaded the protests that led to the toppling of Keita.
But soon after the summit started, the supporters of the M5-RFP coalition began to protest, accusing the military government of excluding them from most working groups.
The talks, which are also being held in regional capitals across Mali, continued on Sunday and will resume again late next week.