Mali coup: why the president resigned

Senior military figures including an air force major-general are now in charge of the West African nation

Protesters greet soldiers in the Malian capital Bamako
Protesters greet soldiers in capital Bamako after Mali’s controversial president was forced from office
(Image credit: 2020 Getty Images)

Mali appears to be under military control today, after the country’s president resigned and dissolved parliament.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his departure “hours after the mutineers detained him at gunpoint, plunging a country already facing a jihadist insurgency and mass protests deeper into crisis”, Reuters says.

Both the president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were taken to a military camp near Bamako, Mali’s capital, by a group of soldiers calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People.

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Although Keito won a second term in 2018, his rule has been marred by “anger over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and a dispute over legislative elections”, says the BBC. “It has prompted several large protests in recent months.”

In a televised address this morning, one of the coup leaders, air force deputy chief of staff Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, said that the military would seek to create “the best conditions for a civil political transition leading to credible general elections”.

The uprising is “a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis” that follows a long civil war “in which ideologically-motivated armed groups have stoked ethnic tensions while jockeying for power”, says Al Jazeera.

The ousting of the government has been condemned by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States.

“Having previously warned it would no longer tolerate military coups in the region, the bloc plans to send a delegation to Mali to ensure a return to constitutional democracy,” Reuters reports.

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