Coup: Mali president resigns, soldiers promise fresh elections
Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has announced his resignation on live television in the early hours of Wednesday morning following a military coup and has dissolved the parliament as well.
“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” The News Agency of Nigeria quoted the former President from a military base in Kati outside the capital Bamako where he had been detained earlier in the day.
“I’ve decided to leave my post,” he said, clad in traditional clothing and a medical mask to protect against the coronavirus. “I want no blood to be spilt to keep me in power,” he added.
Leaders of a military coup in Mali that detained President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisseforced their resignation also declared this Wednesday they would enact a political transition and stage elections within a “reasonable time”.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) “decided to take responsibility in front of the people and of history”, Ismael Wague, the Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff, said in a state television broadcast.
Even with Wague’s speech, It was still not totally clear who was leading the revolt or who would govern Mali in Keita’s absence.
The United Nations, European Union, African Union Commission, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have condemned the military’s actions.
The UN has called for the “immediate release” of the president, while the EU said it “condemns the coup attempt under way in Mali and rejects any anti-constitutional change.”
“This can in no way be a response to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months,” the EU said in a statement.
AFP also reported that ECOWAS has decided to close its member states’ borders with Mali, suspend the country from its decision-making bodies “with immediate affect,” and temporarily interrupt financial flows between its other 14 members and Bamako.
Mali has been struggling to maintain stability since tens of thousands of opposition supporters accused Keita of gross intimidation and vote-buying during a parliamentary election in April, which gave his administration a firm majority.
Soldiers started to mutiny early Tuesday in the garrison town of Kati, 15 kilometres north-west of Bamako. Gunfire was heard in the capital.
The U.S., Australian, and Swedish embassies in Mali warned of possible unrest in the volatile West African country, urging their citizens to stay at home. France, a former colonial power in Mali, condemned the mutiny.