Soldiers ‘seize Mali President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta’ 1

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Soldiers ‘seize Mali President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta

Multiple reports suggest Malian President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta has been arrested by mutinying soldiers.

Soldiers ‘seize Mali President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta’ 2

Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta

Their actions began with gunfire inside a key military base, some 15km (nine miles) from the capital, Bamako, on Tuesday morning.

Soldiers ‘seize Mali President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta’ 3

In the centre of Bamako, young men looted a government-owned building and set it on fire. The mutiny has been condemned by regional group Ecowas and former colonial power France.

The unrest coincides with calls for more protests to demand that the president resign.

Mr Keita won a second term in elections in 2018, but there is widespread anger over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and the worsening security situation with jihadist and communal violence on the increase.

It is not yet clear how many soldiers have taken part in the mutiny. Some reports say it was fuelled by a pay dispute. The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) urged the mutineers to return to barracks.

“This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, Ecowas has been taking initiatives and conducting mediation efforts with all the Malian parties,” its statement said.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said France condemned “in the strongest terms this serious event” and he too urged soldiers to return to barracks.

 

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