BAMAKO (Somaliguardian) – Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, his PM and other government officials were detained on Tuesday by mutinying soldiers in the capital Bamako.
Soldiers had earlier in the day mutinied at the Kati military base about 15 km outside of Bamako and rounded up a number of senior civilian and military officials.
Mutinous soldiers fired shots in the air for an unknown reason early in the morning in the large military camp of Kati, witnesses told AFP. A few hours later, soldiers have taken control of a garrison near Bamako, raising fears of a possible overthrow of President Keita, who has been facing months of protest.
Colonel Diaw, a military commander leading a possible military coup d’état told President Keita to step down before 2:00 pm.
The colonel announced arresting President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Tuesday afternoon. Several ministers and the speaker of parliament as well as other senior military officials were detained.
Colonal Diaw, General Cheick Fanta Mady and Colonel Mama Sekou Lelenta are said to be leading what seems to be a coup in progress.
French government strongly condemned the mutiny in Mali, highlighting that it “fully shares the position expressed by the ECOWAS” which called for the military to return to their barracks without delay.
Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the arrest of President Keita , his Prime Minister and other government officials, calling for their immediate release.
A mutiny in 2012 at the Kati base led to a military coup that toppled then-President Amadou Toumani Toure and hastened the fall of Mali’s north to jihadist militants, who continue to operate across the north and centre of the West African country.
Keita has faced mass protests since June calling for his resignation over alleged corruption and worsening security.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse issued a brief statement calling for dialogue and urging mutinous soldiers to stand down.
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