Ivory Coast has come under fire from Mali’s military-led government for requesting the West African regional grouping, Ecowas, to assist in securing the release of 46 Ivorian soldiers who have been held in Bamako since July.
In a forceful statement issued on Thursday, Mali advised Ecowas not to get involved, claiming that the soldiers’ detention was “purely a legal and bilateral” issue.
It declared that the Malian government will not cave in to threats or extortion.
The Ivorian national security council’s decision to report the problem to Ecowas so that it may organize an emergency summit of heads of state to discuss the crisis was followed by Bamako’s response the next day.
The Malian transitional authorities, meanwhile, indicated in a statement on Thursday that they were not alarmed by the action.
Mali’s temporary prime minister and spokesperson, Col. Abdoulaye Maiga, stated that Ecowas had been informed by the authorities that there was a legal dispute between the two nations.
Additionally, he cautioned the Ivorian authorities against using Ecowas as an excuse to escape accountability.