Mali President Resigns as Soldiers Promise Civilian Transition

BAMAKO (Somaliguardian) – Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers arrested him at gunpoint, plunging the west African country into deeper crisis.

In a brief address broadcast on state television, the president looking tired and wearing a surgical mask announced his resignation after troops detained him along with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and other government officials.

“If today, certain elements of army want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” he said from a military base in Kati 15 km away from Bamako, where he had been detained on Tuesday afternoon.

Local media said a man named Colonel Diaw who has recently returned from Russia was leading the revolt and it’s so far unknown who would govern in Keita’s absence.

Videos and images posted earlier on twitter said to be taken at the Kati garrison showed Keita and Cisse surrounded by armed soldiers.

Over the past few months, Mali has seen mass protests against alleged corruption and deteriorating security in the West African country where Al-Qaeda jihadist movements are active, and there have been calls for Keita to step down.

Opposition coalition behind the protests expressed support for the mutineers’ action, with spokesman Nouhoum Togo saying “it was not a military coup but a popular insurrection”.

Military Plans to form a civilian government

Soldiers who staged the military coup in Mali leading to the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his government said on Wednesday they plan to form a civilian transitional government that will organize fresh elections.

A spokesman for the military Colonel Ismael Wague invited Mali’s civil society and political movements to join them to create conditions for a political transition that would lead to new elections.

The military coup d’état has been strongly condemned by Mali’s regional and international partners who fear Keita’s ouster could further destabilize the former French colony and West Africa’s entire Sahel region.

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