Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (IBK) resigned tonight after being arrested along with his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé by the rebel soldiers who staged a coup in the African country yesterday. The coup has been condemned internationally but apparently supported in the streets of Bamako, the capital.
The “National Salvation Committee” seizes power in Mali and promises elections
Keita, wearing a mask, has spoken from Kati’s military camp on the national radio station ORTM just before midnight. He has said that his resignation, which also signifies the dissolution of the National Assembly, takes effect immediately. “I do not wish for blood to be spilled to keep me in power. I have decided to leave all my functions from this moment, ”said Keita.
In the video published by the portal maliactu.net You can see the special edition of the newscast, which interrupted the programming, and which includes the declarations of the resignation of IBK, as the Malian president is popularly known.
His departure was greeted with glee by anti-government protesters in Bamako, the capital of the volatile West African country. “All the people of Mali are tired, we have had enough,” says a protester, collects The Guardian.
Although in the morning it was believed that the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) were divided on the timing of the coup, with the passing of the hours the supposed internal opposition has become invisible and everything suggests that the majority of the uniformed have taken the side of the coup plotters.
The rebel soldiers have described themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP). They have declared the closure of borders and a curfew, the desire for a “civil transition” and the upcoming holding of elections, and continued cooperation with foreign troops in the fight against jihadism. The spokesman who made the statement is Colonel Major Ismael Wague, Chief of the Deputy General Staff of the Air Force.
However, the consequences are already being felt for the country: the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to which Mali belongs, closed the borders with this country, suspended its participation in the organization and secretly threatened an intervention regional military. Condemnations have rained down on the coup plotters from all countries and institutions with some weight in Mali: the African Union, the European Union, the UN, the United States and the former colonial power, France, whose embassy in Mali has urged its citizens to stay at home, in addition to activating a contact telephone number.
The UN security council has scheduled a closed-door meeting for Wednesday to discuss the current situation in Mali, where the entity has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. The last to speak was the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who has demanded “the immediate and unconditional release” of President IBK as well as “a peaceful settlement” of the differences between Malians.
In addition to the head of state and the prime minister, it is believed that the coup plotters have detained most of the Malian government formed as an exceptional cabinet on July 27 to try to solve the deep political crisis that the country has been experiencing for some time. months.
But despite all these condemnations and the lack of external support, the mutineers seem to have popular support, judging by the expressions of joy expressed by the crowd that this afternoon invaded many avenues of Bamako, fraternizing with the military over music and chants. .
Festive scenes shared via mobile phones showed numerous examples of spontaneous celebration of the events, which suggest that the coup plotters currently have the support of a large part of public opinion.
A VERY CRITICAL PRESIDENT
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta came to power in 2013, after the turbulent months that followed another coup in 2012. The 75-year-old politician has won two consecutive elections, the last one in 2018. While that election was relatively quiet, it was the result of the legislative elections of last April the one that ignited the popular anger by the suspicions of fraud.
The crowd that invaded the streets of Bamako during the weeks of May and June was protesting the corruption of the president and his family, but also the growing insecurity in the country and the absence of the state in large parts of the national territory de facto dominated by militias of ethnic obedience.
In addition, jihadism has not stopped gaining ground in the country in the IBK era, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the Sahel and also infecting other neighbors such as Niger, Burkina Faso or the Ivory Coast.