Mutiny soldiers in Mali on Tuesday, August 18, arrested and detained the Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, one of their leaders said.
“We can tell you that the president and the prime minister are under our control,” the leader, who requested anonymity, told AFP. He added that the pair had been “arrested” at Keita’s residence in the capital Bamako.
Two security sources also told Reuters that Keita has been detained.
Earlier today, Malian soldiers shot guns into the air in Kati military base, which is about nine miles from Bamako. An officer at the camp told AFP that the gunshots were an act of “rebellion” and many soldiers were unhappy with Mali’s political situation. “We want change,” the officer said.
However, the West Africa bloc ECOWAS, the United States and France has released separate statements voicing deep concern about the turn of the events and urged against regime change.
French President Emmanuel Macron had also discussed the crisis with his counterparts in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal and expressed his “full support for the ongoing mediation efforts of West African states”.
His office had added that he “condemned the attempted mutiny under way”.
The AU said in a statement that it “forcefully condemns” the arrest of Malian political leaders, while the EU denounced what it called an “attempted coup.”
Mali has been mired in deep political impasse for months, as President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has come under fierce pressure from the opposition June 5 Movement to resign.