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Mali President resigns after arrest in military coup

Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has announced his resignation on national television ORTM, on Tuesday night.

This happened hours after he and the Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were reportedly arrested by mutinous soldiers in a bloodless coup on Tuesday at a military camp 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) outside of the capital city, Bamako. The attempted mutiny took place in Kati, at the same camp where a successful military coup was launched back in 2012, that brought Keita himself into power.

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The President announced on national TV ORTM that he was stepping down to avoid bloodshed, and that the country’s national assembly and government was to be dissolved.

“For seven years I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country back on its feet,” Keita said. “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.”

Keita’s resignation comes following months of protests against his government, failure to deal with rising insurgency from Islamist militants, as well as allegations of corruption.

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Earlier in the day, Cisse had posted a plea to troops on Facebook, asking the military to put down its arms and engage in dialogue.

“The government calls for reason and a patriotic sense and asks for the use of arms to be stopped. There are no problems that cannot be solved in dialogue,” the Prime Minister wrote, in a statement that appears to have been posted before his reported arrest and detention.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning following the coup, the military leaders behind the coup, a group identified as the National Committee for the Salvation of People (CNSP), addressed the nation. CNSP promised a political transition, fresh elections within a “reasonable time,” and a national curfew.

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A spokesperson for the CNSP, Colonel Major Ismael Wague, announced that as of Wednesday, all air and land borders would be closed “until further notice” and national curfew would be imposed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time.

“Civil society and socio-political movements are invited to join us in order, together, to create the best conditions for a civil political transition leading to credible regional elections for the democratic exercise, through a roadmap that will lay the foundations for a new Mali,” said Wague.

According to Wague, the CNSP is “not keen on power, but we are keen on the stability of the country which will allow us to organize general elections within a reasonable timeframe to allow Mali to equip itself with strong institutions capable of managing as well as possible, our daily lives and restore trust between governments and governed.”

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