Mali President and Prime Minister detained by soldiers
The President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse have been detained by a group of soldiers. It is believed to be a coup attempt after the soldiers took weapons from an armory and headed to a key base in Kati and staged a mutiny. Soldiers also detained senior military officers, while anti-government protesters cheered. A building that belongs to Mali’s justice minister was set on fire by the protesters.
This comes after weeks of political crisis that the country has been hit , after the opposition protesters took to the streets to protest the mishandling the economy and worsening a security situation. The protesters were demanding for the resignation of the President. Earlier on Tuesday, protesters gathered at a square in the capital, Bamako, where they showed support for the soldiers’ actions.
The country experienced another coup in 2012, when mutinying soldiers attacked several locations in the capital Bamako which included the Presidential palace. After the coup, a power vacuum led to an Islamic extremists to seize control of Northern towns. The French army led a military operation in Mali, where they managed to oust the Islamists from the towns. Eventually the Islamic extremists managed to regroup during the presidency of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Last year, the Jihadists launched a number of attacks on the military in the North of the country resulting in several casualties and the eventual closure of several vulnerable outposts. UN and French troops peacekeepers have been stationed in Mali since the 2012 coup to try to stabilise the country.
The European Union has condemned the coup and the EU high representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said that, ‘This can in no way be an answer to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months.’ The United Nations is expected to hold a meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the situation in Mali.