The African Union on Friday suspended Mali following the coup there, the Nigerian ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the AU, Paul Zolo told reporters.
“Given the manner in which the mutineers in Mali have acted against a constitutional government in the country ... council decided that Mali should be suspended from further participation in all its activities until effective restoration of constitutional order is achieved without delay,” he said according to AFP.
Zolo made the announcement following a meeting of the Council at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
AU Commission chief Jean Ping said the pan-African bloc and ECOWAS will send a joint team to Mali to seek a return of constitutional order after mutinous troops ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure on Thursday.
Rebel soldiers calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy seized control of the capital Thursday, accusing the government of failing to tackle terrorism and put down a Tuareg-led insurrection in the north.
The AU earlier said it had been told that Mali President Toure was safe after mutinous soldiers launched a coup against him this week.
“We have been told that the president is safe, protected by a certain number of loyalists,” Ping told journalists after a meeting of the bloc’s Peace and Security Council.
“The president is in Mali for sure. The assurances we are getting from those that are protecting him, he is not far from Bamako,” he said according to Reuters.
The European Union’s executive arm said it was halting development operations temporarily as EU foreign ministers called for the return of civilian rule in Mali.
“Following yesterday’s coup d’etat in Mali, I decided to suspend temporarily European Commission’s development operations in the country until the situation clarifies,” said EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, according to AFP.
The EU stressed that direct support to the population would continue as well as humanitarian aid. Mali is threatened with a food crisis due to drought.
The European Union’s executive arm planned to allocate 583 million euros ($772 million) of development aid to Mali between 2008 and 2013.
The World Bank and African Development Bank also suspended development aid after Mali's first coup in 21 years.
China added to the critique which has poured in from the United Nations, France and across Africa.
“We oppose unconstitutional takeover of power,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters, calling for a “return to normal order.”
Amnesty International said at least three people had been shot dead, with 28 wounded, while the Red Cross in the country said it had treated 40 people for mostly bullet wounds.
Mali is usually seen as politically stable, but unrest in the north, where Tuareg tribes have long felt ignored by a southern government and where al-Qaeda has also taken root, has created a major security problem.