Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on Sept. 2 after the military detained him, putting the West African country into a deeper crisis as it fights jihadism in the Sahel. Keita was the target of mass protests since June, with people saying his seven-year rule was flawed with corruption.
Mali is also in a dire economic situation and is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country is a key ally to the West in the battle against the jihadist threat in the region.
In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Col. Maj. Ismael Wagué.
“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Wague said the committee will implement a transition to civil political rule with elections held in a “reasonable amount of time.” He reassured that all international agreements will still be respected and that international forces, including the U.N. mission in Mali and G5 Sahel, will remain in place “for the restoration of stability.”
“It seems to me difficult that a junta could lead Mali,” Dr. Niagalé Bagayoko, Chair of the African Security Sector Network told Africa News. “It’ll be very difficult to find a solution the population will find legitimate today as all solutions that have been tried until now have been a failure.”
Mali saw its last coup in 2012, which started at the same military base where shots were fired on Tuesday, sparking the latest events. There was no word on the future of the now-former President Keita.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS said it was sending a high-level delegation to “ensure immediate return to constitutional order.”