Mali’s military-led government has criticised Ivory Coast for asking the West African regional bloc, (Ecowas, to help secure the release of 46 Ivorian troops who have been detained in Bamako since July.
In a strongly worded statement released on Thursday, Mali said the soldiers’ detention was “purely a legal and bilateral” matter and warned Ecowas not to get involved.
It said the Malian government would not yield to any blackmail or intimidation.
Bamako’s reaction came a day after the Ivorian national security council’s decision to refer the matter to Ecowas so that it could organise an extraordinary meeting of heads of state on the crisis.
But in a statement on Thursday, the Malian transitional authorities said they were not concerned by the move.
Col Abdoulaye Maiga, Mali’s interim prime minister and government spokesperson, said the authorities had indicated to Ecowas that this was a legal matter between the two countries.
He also warned the Ivorian authorities against using Ecowas as a way to avoid taking responsibility.