Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on live television in the early hours of Wednesday morning following a military coup.
“I’ve decided to leave my post,” he said, clad in traditional clothing and a medical mask to protect against the coronavirus.
The president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested by the military after a mutiny on Tuesday, following months of street protests in the volatile West African state, which is also battling an Islamic insurgency.
“The president and his prime minister have been arrested.
“They are being taken to Kati military camp,” army officer Sidi Gakou told dpa earlier Tuesday.
The United Nations, European Union, African Union Commission, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have condemned the military’s actions.
The UN has called for the “immediate release” of the president, while the EU said it “condemns the coup attempt under way in Mali and rejects any anti-constitutional change.”
“This can in no way be a response to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months,” the EU said in a statement.
Later, ECOWAS said that it decided to close its member states’ borders with Mali, suspend the country from its decision-making bodies “with immediate affect,” and temporarily interrupt financial flows between its other 14 members and Bamako.
Mali has been struggling to maintain stability since tens of thousands of opposition supporters accused Keita of gross intimidation and vote-buying during a parliamentary election in April, which gave his administration a firm majority.
Soldiers started to mutiny early Tuesday in the garrison town of Kati, 15 kilometres north-west of Bamako. Gunfire was heard in the capital.
A photographer told dpa there had been several thousand protesters on the streets, with people firing into the air in celebration.