Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs minister Samuel Mumbengegwi and several other African ministers are stranded in Bamako, Mali, after all borders were sealed following a coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré on Thursday.
Mumbengegwi and two officers from his ministry flew to Bamako last Saturday for an African Union Peace and Security Council meeting to discuss the political situation of the Sahel region.
Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity permanent secretary George Charamba confirmed Mumbengegwi was stuck in Mali since yesterday and was only expected back on Monday or Tuesday next week.
“The minister and two officers are stuck in Bamako, but are safe. The minister has communicated with the government and they are in one of the hotels,” said Charamba.
“They were supposed to be back yesterday, but failed after authorities sealed both the borders and airspace, hence no movements.”
Media reports yesterday quoted Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Senegal, Trudy Stevenson, as saying: “He’s definitely still there. They can’t leave the hotel. They are surrounded by armoured vehicles and there is a curfew. The airport and borders are closed.”
Ironically, while the ministers were discussing issues such as tackling terrorism and trans-border crime in the Sahel region, rebels were fighting to topple the President who had ruled since 1991.