Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has resigned after soldiers snatched him from his home as part of a coup.
“For seven years I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country back on its feet,” Keita said via 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.”
Since May, the public’s uneasiness with Keita has been brewing after the country’s top constitutional court overturned results from disputed parliamentary elections. The move meant that Keita’s party could occupy a majority of the vacant seats.
Keita was essentially accused of stealing the election.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People, the group who seized Keita from his residence, appeared in a televised address to the nation, making their demands clear.
“We are not holding on to power but we are holding on to the stability of the country,” Mali Air Force’s deputy chief of staff, Ismail Wague, said live on the air. “With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness. This will allow us to organise within an agreed reasonable timeframe, general elections to equip Mali with strong institutions, which are able to better manage our everyday lives and restore confidence between the government and the governed.”
Wague also announced that as of Wednesday, all air and land borders would be closed “until further notice.” A national curfew would also go into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time.
African Union Commission member Moussa Faki Mahamat denounced the coup.
“I strongly condemn the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Prime Minister and other members of the Malian Government and call for their immediate release,” Mahamat wrote, urging “the mutineers to cease all use of violence.”
Originally posted 2020-08-19 08:12:00.