Mali Coup: Military Promises Elections After Ousting President
Following the military coup in Mali, the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States will today (Thursday) hold an extraordinary summit on the situation in the country.
Soldiers who ousted Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta say they plan to set up a civilian transitional government and hold new elections.
The spokesman for the soldiers said they had acted to prevent the country from falling further into chaos.
President Keïta resigned on Tuesday night saying he did not want “blood to be spilled to keep me in power”.
The UN Security Council condemned the “mutiny”, urging the immediate release of the president and his officials.
All troops should “return to their barracks without delay”, it said.
Mali, a vast country stretching into the Sahara Desert is among the poorest countries in the world and has experienced several military takeovers. It is currently battling to contain a wave of jihadist attacks and ethnic violence.
What have the soldiers said?
The soldiers, calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, said they did not want to stay in power.
“We are keen on the stability of the country, which will allow us to organize general elections to allow Mali to equip itself with strong institutions within the reasonable time limit,” said the group’s spokesman, Col Ismaël Wagué, the air force deputy chief of staff.
In a televised statement, flanked by soldiers, he urged Mali’s civil and political groups to help create a “political transition leading to credible general elections for the exercise of democracy through a roadmap that will lay the foundations for a new Mali”.
He also announced the closure of all air and land borders and a curfew from 21:00 to 05:00.
“Our country is sinking into chaos, anarchy, and insecurity mostly due to the fault of the people who are in charge of its destiny,” he said.
What Do We Know About The Mutiny?
It appears that mutinying soldiers took control of the Kati army camp, about 15km (nine miles) from Bamako, on Tuesday. They then marched on the capital, cheered by crowds who had gathered to demand Mr. Keïta’s resignation.
The soldiers then stormed the presidential buildings, arresting Mr. Keïta and his prime minister and taking them to Kati Camp. The president’s son, the speaker of the National Assembly, the foreign and finance ministers were also reported to have been detained.
It remains unclear how many soldiers took part in the coup, although it seems to have been led by Col Malick Diaw – deputy head of the Kati camp – and another commander, Gen Sadio Camara, BBC Afrique’s Abdoul Ba reports from Bamako.