by Oleg Burunov
The mutiny in Mali comes amid an ongoing political standoff in the country, which earlier saw the opposition demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and accusing him of being responsible for an economic crisis battering the nation.
A group of officers from the Malian armed forces has staged a mutiny at a key base near the capital Bamako, capturing the country’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, and other senior officials.
This is what is known so far about an apparent coup attempt in the West African nation.
- Apart from Keita and Cisse, the president’s son, the Speaker of the National Assembly, as well as the foreign and finance ministers are reportedly among those who were detained.
- On Wednesday morning, President Keita announced his resignation, adding that he was dissolving parliament and dismissing the government.
- “I want no blood to be spilled to keep me in power. I would like at this precise moment, while thanking the Malian people for their support throughout these long years and the warmth of their affection, to tell you of my decision to relinquish my duties”, he said.
- The statement came amid reports that the mutiny was led by deputy head of the Kati Base Colonel Malick Diaw along with General Sadio Camar.
- They established the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), which “decided to take responsibility before the people and history”, according to Ismael Wague, the Malian Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff.
- e spoke as army officers, who staged the mutiny, announced the closure of the country’s borders and the introduction of a curfew.
- It was earlier reported that the said army officers had taken control of Bamako, pledging a political transition leading to new elections within “a reasonable time”.
- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has, meanwhile, demanded the “unconditional release” of Mali’s leaders and the “immediate restoration of constitutional order” in the country, while African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said that he “emphatically condemns” the arrests of President Keita and Prime Minister Cisse.
- This was echoed by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell who tweeted that the bloc “strongly condemns the coup attemptunder way in Mali and rejects any unconstitutional changes”.
- “This can in no way be a response to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months”, Borrell added.
- The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in turn, stated that it had moved to close its 15 member states’ borders with Mali and suspend all financial flows between ECOWAS members and the West African nation.
- The AFP news agency cited an unnamed UN source as saying that the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the situation in Mali later on Wednesday, following a relevant request by France and Niger.
Mali was a French colonial territory from 1880 to 1960, when the West African state gained independence.
The current mutiny comes against the backdrop of a protracted political crisis in the country, where opposition activists have repeatedly accused President Keita of failing to tackle Mali’s economic meltdown, restore security, and fight corruption.