Mali president resigns after being arrested by troops
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation in an aired address on national broadcaster ORTM after being arrested by troops in an apparent military coup earlier Tuesday.
The statement aired by the state-run broadcaster came after midnight local time, and Keita said he had few choices to avoid any bloodshed.
Keita and his prime minister, Boubou Cisse, were arrested along with other government officials earlier in the day, according to the head of the African Union.
A spokesperson for African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement that Mahamat “strongly condemns” the arrests of the two leaders and other members of the Malian government and “calls for their immediate release.”
The European Union also condemned the coup, calling for “dialogue” to strengthen human rights and avoid destabilizing the region in Western Africa.
Keita took office as Mali’s president in 2013 after having served as prime minister from 1994-2000. He had faced growing discontent since May when the country’s Supreme Court overturned results from disputed parliamentary elections, paving the way for his party to occupy a majority of the vacant seats.
Protesters expressed frustration with the current government’s inability to tamp down an Islamist insurgency in the West African country.
On Tuesday videos surfaced of troops driving through the capital city of Bamako, shooting guns in the air surrounded by cheering crowds.
Video Received: scenes from Independence Square in Bamako, Mali amid reported arrest of President Keita & Prime Minister Boubou Cisse by soldiers.
Last few months Demos have been taking place in the Country demanding President Keita stand down. pic.twitter.com/Ttej59cIQB
— Samira Sawlani (@samirasawlani) August 18, 2020