The military government in Mali says it wants to stay in office for three years to enable it prepare the nation for return to civil rule.

The junta also agreed to release ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and others who were rounded up during the coup of Tuesday last week.

West African envoys held talks with the military government Saturday to try to push for a speedy return to civilian rule after a coup in the troubled nation.

The delegation, headed by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, held talks for half an hour with military leaders, including new strongman colonel Assimi Goita,. The envoys from the regional ECOWAS bloc also hope to meet ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who is being detained at a military camp outside Bamako.

“The junta has affirmed that it wants a three-year transition to review the foundations of the Malian state. This transition will be directed by a body led by a soldier, who will also be head of state,” a source in the ECOWAS delegation in capital Bamako told AFP.

“The government will also be predominantly composed of soldiers” under the junta’s proposal, the source said on condition of anonymity,” a source was quoted.

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