The President of Mali, Boubacar Keita, on Wednesday has announced he would resign to avoid “bloodshed”, after he was arrested by the military in a sudden coup after months of political upheaval in Mali.
The soldiers arrested Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his Prime Minister, Boubou Cisse on Tuesday afternoon and both were transported to a military base in Kati, near the capital Bamako, which the mutineers had seized earlier in the morning.
After the news of the President’s arrest, there were jubilant crowds in the city, who gathered to demand for the president resignation.
Keita looked relaxed as he appears in a state TV broadcast after midnight to announce the dissolution of the government and national assembly. He also expressed that he had no choice but to resign with immediate effect.
He said in his press statement, “If it pleased certain elements of our military to decide this should end with their intervention, do I really have a choice?” he said of the day’s events.
“(I must) submit to it, because I don’t want any bloodshed.”
However, it is still not clear if Keita is still in custody at Kati base, which ironically was the place of the 2012 putsch that brought him to power.
France, the European Union and neighbouring states all urged against any unconstitutional transfer of power.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also demanded the “immediate and unconditional release” of Keita and Cisse as diplomats in New York announced an emergency Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
The coup was condemned by the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) who promised to close land and air borders to Mali as a sanction against “all the putschists and their