Mali Coup Leaders Release Former President Keita From Detention

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Coup leaders in Mali have released former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from detention after seizing him from his home last week.

The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), a military group, held Keita at gunpoint before forcing him to resign.

“President IBK is free in his movements, he’s at home,” CNSP spokesman Djibrila Maiga told AFP news agency.

The uprising against Keita has been mulling after the country’s top constitutional court overturned results from disputed parliamentary elections. The decision meant that Keita’s party could occupy a majority of the vacant seats. Opposition leaders accused Keita of stealing the election.

“For seven years I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country back on its feet,” Keita said in a televised address to the nation on ORTM. “If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I don’t want any blood to be shed.”

The group also held Keita’s prime minister, Boubou Cissé, and several other high-ranking government officials.

Over the weekend, West Africa’s regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), sent members to Bamako to negotiate with the coup leaders. This week they announced that they would hold another Summit on the situation in Mali on August 28.

ECOWAS states that it has “strongly condemned the undemocratic change of government” as it is against the “ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.”

During his detention, Keita was visited by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who said the former premier seemed “very fine.”

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