Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse have been arrested by mutinying soldiers, according to reports. This came hours after soldiers took up arms and staged a mutiny at a key base in Kati, a town close to the capital, Bamako Tuesday morning.
“We can tell you that the president and the prime minister are under our control,” a leader of the mutiny, who requested anonymity, told AFP.
Keita won a second term in elections in 2018 but the opposition has accused him of collapsing the country’s economy and worsening the security situation in the country.
It is unknown how many soldiers have taken part in the mutiny, which has been condemned by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).
“This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, Ecowas has been taking initiatives and conducting mediation efforts with all the Malian parties,” ECOWAS said in a statement, calling the mutineers to return to barracks.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said France condemned “in the strongest terms this serious event.”
Keita won the country’s election runoff by a landslide 67 percent of votes against opposition rival Soumaila Cisse in 2018. The election run-off, which was marred by militant attacks, claims of fraud and internet shutdown, had a low turnout of 2.7 million people, about 34 percent of the registered voters.
International observers including the European Union acknowledged irregularities but declared that there was no evidence of fraud.
On Wednesday, Keïta resigned, announcing in a televised address that he was also dissolving the government and parliament, adding: “I want no blood to be spilled to keep me in power.”
Mali soldiers have also promised ‘civilian political transition’ leading to a general election.