Mali coup: Rebel soldiers arrest the president, forcing him to resign

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Image source
Reuters

Image caption

CFO said he “doesn’t have a choice”

Malian President Ibrahim Boubaker Keita announced his formal resignation from his post after being detained by rebel soldiersyen On Tuesday, state television reported.

Keita said in a televised address that he had decided to dissolve the government and parliament. He added, “I do not want bloodshed to remain in power.”

A spokesman for the Malian government had confirmed to “BBC” that President Abu Bakr Keita was arrested by rebel soldiers, and was detained in an army camp near the capital, Bamako.

Prime Minister Bobo Cisse was also arrested, despite previous pleas for a “brotherly dialogue”.

And the resigned president continued in his speech: “If some of our armed forces today want to intervene to end the current situation, I do not have options.”

He concluded his speech that he did not bear a grudge for anyone, and said, “My love for my country does not allow me to do so, may God protect us.”

The coup came just two years after Keita was re-elected as president in 2018, but poor living conditions and corruption sparked popular anger that spread to the army.

Angry junior officers took control of the important army camp of Katy, near the capital, Bamako, on Tuesday morning.

In the city, youths set fire to a government-owned building.

The arrest of President Keita and his prime minister sparked widespread international condemnation.

The unrest coincides with calls for more protests to demand the president’s resignation.

What do we know about the insurgency?

Image source
EPA

Image caption

Crowds cheered the rebel soldiers upon their arrival in the capital, Bamako.

The apparent coup attempt in the West African country began with firing at a main army camp near the capital, Bamako, on Tuesday morning.

In the city, youths set fire to a government-owned building.

The arrest of President Keita and his prime minister sparked widespread international condemnation.

This came hours after disgruntled junior officers detained the commanders and took control of Camp Kati, about 15 kilometers from Bamako.

The unrest coincides with calls for more protests to demand the president’s resignation.

The rebellion is led by Colonel Malik Diaw – Deputy Commander in Chief at Camp Kati – and another commander, General Sadio Camara, according to what was reported by the BBC Africa correspondent from Bamako.

After capturing the camp, the rebels headed towards the capital.

In the afternoon, they broke into Keitas house and arrested him, accompanied by his prime minister, who was with him.

The reason for this move is unclear, as is the number of soldiers participating in the rebellion.

Some reports say low wage rates have fueled this conflict.

Camp Kati was also the focus of a rebellion in 2012 by soldiers angry at the inability of top commanders to prevent jihadists and Tuareg rebels from taking control of northern Mali.

And showed footage from the agency, “Agence France Presse,” a building belonging to the Ministry of Justice in Bamako, burst into flames.

Analysis from Will Ross, affairs editor A.NoTeam on “BBC”:

It seems that what started as a rebellion turned into a coup will be welcomed by the huge number of protesters who took to the streets months ago, calling on President Keita to step down.

Parallels will be drawn between these events and those of 2012 when the government’s mishandling of the insurgency led to another coup.

The jihadists took advantage of the chaos to seize northern Mali. And they continue their activity throughout the region.

Why is the president not popular?

Ibrahim Abu Bakr Keita won a second term in the 2018 elections, but there is widespread anger over corruption, mismanagement of the economy, and a deteriorating security situation as jihadist and sectarian violence escalates.

In recent months, huge crowds led by Imam Mahmud Diku have called on President Keita to step down.

According to reports, much smaller crowds gathered in the capital on Tuesday to support the soldiers.

What was the reaction?

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the “unconditional release” of the leaders of Mali and for the “immediate restoration of constitutional order”.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said that he “strongly condemns” the arrest of President Keita and his Prime Minister.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said: “This rebellion comes at a time when, for months, ECOWAS has taken several initiatives and is making mediation efforts with all financial parties.”

In France, the former colonial power, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned “in the strongest terms this dangerous event” and urged the soldiers to return to the barracks.

Earlier, the French embassy in Bamako published a tweet advising people “strongly” to stay at home.

France is deploying forces in the West African country with the declared aim of “combating Islamic militants.”



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