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Mali gov’t overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup

Mali gov’t overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup: Mali gov’t overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup:

Mali’s president on Wednesday says that he had resigned to avoid bloodshed. This comes after his detention in a military coup yesterday. The military leaders pledged new elections to resolve a spiraling political crisis in the fragile West African nation.

Keita’s government has been beset by months of protests over economic stagnation, brutal Islamist insurgency and corruption. And this has claimed thousands of lives.

Rebel soldiers took Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse into custody on Tuesday afternoon. The pair was taken to a military base on the outskirts of Bamako, which they had seized. 

Jubilant crowds were already gathering in the capital to demand Keita’s resignation. However they cheered the rebels as they made their way to the Keita’s official residence. 

Surprisingly, Keita appeared calm on a state television broadcast soon after midnight. He declared the dissolution of the government and national assembly on a live broadcast. Keita says he had no choice but to resign with immediate effect.

What pleases certain elements of our military to decide this should end with their intervention, then no choice. Keita says, he must submit to it, because he don’t want any bloodshed.

Mali gov’t overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup
Mali gov't overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup
Malian soldiers are celebrated as they arrive at the Independence square in Bamako on Tuesday

However it is unclear whether Keita is still in custody at the Kati base. But this in a twist of fate was also the site of the 2012 putsch that brought him to power. 

The coup’s leaders appeared on television hours later to pledge a political transition and new elections within a reasonable time.

Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff Ismael Wague said he and his fellow officers had “decided to take responsibility in front of the people and of history”.

Mali’s neighbours warned against any unconstitutional transfer of power as the coup unfolded on Tuesday.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemns the coup. In a statement, pledging to close both land and air borders to Mali. Further more to push for sanctions against “all the putschists and their partners and collaborators”.

The 15 nation bloc Mali inclusive also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision making bodies. 

UN Secretary General Guterres demands the immediate and unconditional release of Keita and Cisse. And diplomats in New York said the Security Council would hold emergency talks on Wednesday.

The USA and France also released statements voicing concern about the turn of events and urged against regime change.

French President Macron condemned the mutiny. According to reports says he supported mediation efforts to resolve the crisis by other West African states.

Mali gov’t overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup
Mali gov't overthrownn, president and prime minister arrested in military coup
From L-R Prime Minister Cisse and President Keita

The US envoy to the region, J. Peter Pham joined the calls for restraint and echoed its opposition to any extraconstitutional change.

‘Shifts in mood’

Keita and Cisse’s sudden detention came on the heels of an apparently conciliatory message from the government in Bamako. Which had urged the soldiers to engage in dialogue.

“The observed shifts in mood reflect a certain frustration that may have legitimate causes,” Cisse’s office said in a statement, without offering further details.

It added that the government was open to “fraternal dialogue in order to remove all misunderstandings”.

The drama coincided with opposition plans to resume protests against Keita. 

The June 5 Movement, named for the date of its first protest, has channeled public anger against the leader that saw increasingly strident demands for his resignation.

The opposition campaign veered into crisis last month. This was sparked off by a three days of unrest demonstration and 11 people were killed.

Rising tensions

Mali is the linchpin of French led efforts to roll back jihadists in the Sahel. And its neighbours are anxious to avoid the country sliding into chaos. 

Swathes of its territory are already outside of the control of the government. However this is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that first emerged in 2012. But since then it has claimed thousands of lives.

The failure to end that conflict fuelled frustrations with Keita’s rule, analysts say.

Tensions flared in April when the government held a long delaying parliamentary election, the results of which are still disputed. 

ECOWAS last month suggested the formation of a unity government while sticking by Keita. But the compromise was bluntly rejected by the opposition.

Also Read: Museveni would be heading to Rwakitura if I didn’t help him – Kadaga

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