The AU calls on the military to “return to the barracks urgently and unconditionally” and refrain from further interference in Mali’s political process.
Mali’s membership in the African Union was immediately suspended and the impoverished country threatened sanctions after a second military coup in nine months.
The AU “decides … to immediately suspend the Republic of Mali from participating in all activities of the African Union, its organs and institutions, until the normal constitutional order is restored in the country,” the Council of Peace and Security of the body in a statement on Tuesday.
The AU called on the military to “urgently and unconditionally return to the barracks and refrain from further interference in Mali’s political processes.”
He warned that if the military did not hand over power to transitional civilian leaders, “the Council will not hesitate to impose specific sanctions and other punitive measures.”
Condemning the coup “in the strongest possible terms”, he added that he was “deeply concerned about the evolution of the situation in Mali and its negative impact on the gains made so far in the transition process in the country” .
The movement follows a resemblance suspension on Sunday from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The coup sparked deep concerns about stability in the volatile Sahel region and warnings of economic sanctions from the entire international community.
Colonel Assimi Goita was at the ECOWAS crisis summit in Ghana on Sunday to argue the military case, but has now returned to Mali.
Last August, Goita led army officers who overthrew President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, following massive protests over perceived corruption and a bloody insurgency.
Following the inauguration, the military agreed to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister under pressure from ECOWAS trade and financial sanctions.
But to an extent that sparked a diplomatic uproar, soldiers last week arrested Transitional President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, who released them on Thursday as they said they had resigned.
Mali’s constitutional court completed Goita’s rise to full power on Friday by appointing him transitional president.
With the military in its previous engagement with civilian political leaders, doubts have been raised about its other promises, including the promise to hold elections in early 2022.
The military said this week that it would continue to abide by that schedule, but added that it could be subject to change.
The United States and the former colonial master of Mali, France, had threatened sanctions in response to the second coup.
But ECOWAS, at a crisis summit in Ghana on Sunday, refrained from re-imposing sanctions, a measure it had taken after the first coup.
The 15-nation bloc still pressed for Mali to move to civilian government under a previously agreed timetable.
The bloc suspended ECOWAS from Mali until February 2022, “when they are supposed to hand it over to a democratically elected government,” Ghana’s foreign minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said after the meeting .
Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world and previous ECOWAS sanctions hit hard.
It is also fighting an armed uprising that first broke out in the north of the country in 2012 and has since spread to Burkina Faso and Niger, leaving the nation’s vast strip of 19 million people out of government control. .