Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation effective immediately in the early hours of Wednesday morning, hours after being detained by mutinying soldiers.

In an address on state television, the 75-year-old also said that both the government and the national assembly would be dissolved.

“I would like at this precise moment, while thanking the Malian people for their support throughout these long years and the warmth of their affection, to tell you of my decision to relinquish my duties,” Keita said.

The announcement comes after rebel soldiers detained both Keita and the prime minister, Boubou Cisse, on Tuesday. It also comes after months of political tensions and sometimes-lethal protests in the Sahel state.

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The president and the prime minister were detained on Tuesday after soldiers mutinied at the Kati army base outside of capital Bamako and rounded up a number of senior civilian and military officials.

Video footage have emerged on social media showing a convoy of vehicles surrounded by troops, with some users alleging that the president had been taken into custody.

The M5-RFP coalition in Mali behind mass protests calling for the president to resign said Keita’s detention on Tuesday by mutinying soldiers was “not a military coup but a popular insurrection.”

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it had decided to close its member states’ borders with Mali after its president was detained and it was also suspending all financial flows between its 15 members and Mali and suspending Mali from its decision-making bodies.

The mutiny has been condemned by ECOWAS, which said in a statement the act would complicate “an already very complex socio-political context.”

ECOWAS urged the Mali military to return to their barracks and reiterated calls for dialogue to resolve the crisis facing the country.

It is unclear who Mali’s next president will be and what army forces plan next.

 

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