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Mali - conflict

Malian president, prime minister arrested by soldiers in military revolt

Malian soldiers cheer near Independence Plaza in Bamako, 18 August 2020.
Malian soldiers cheer near Independence Plaza in Bamako, 18 August 2020. MALIK KONATE / AFP
2 min

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé have been arrested in Bamako by soldiers in an apparent coup attempt.

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"We have taken control of the President of the Republic and his Prime Minister," a mutiny leader told RFI correspondent Serge Daniel.

“We went to his home where he was with the prime minister. We asked him to come with us for a discussion. They are currently in our hands and we are going to Kati,” he added.

Soldiers shot guns in the air Tuesday morning at Soundiata Keïta military barracks in Kati, some 15 kilometres from Bamako before taking control of the barracks and military officials.

After travelling to the capital, the mutineers arrested high-ranking army officers, including the Minister of Defence, and reportedly other civilians.

The mutineers were yet to clarify their motives, but there has been growing anger among soldiers about salaries amid the ongoing fight against jihadists.

The incident follows more than two months of street protests calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

Tuesday's events in Mali sparked widespread international condemnation.

The chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said: "I forcefully condemn the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister (Boubou Cissé) and other members of the Malian government, and call for their immediate release." 

The European Union denounced an "attempted coup" and rejected all unconstitutional change, diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

The UN Security Council is to hold emergency meeting on the situation on Wednesday.   

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his full support for mediation efforts after speaking to his Niger and Ivorian counterparts, Mahamadou Issoufou and Alassane Ouattara, respectively, as well as Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall.

Macron is "closely following the situation and condemns the attempted mutiny in progress,” according to the president’s office.

 

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