President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and his Prime Minister, Boubou Cissé have been arrested by mutinous soldiers in Bamako on Tuesday before being taken to the Soundiata Keïta camp in Kati.The day ended on a dramatic note in Mali.
Early on Tuesday morning, shots rang out at Kati’s military camp where a garrison is based.
The mutineers, including officers, then headed for Bamako, 15 kilometres away, to arrest high-ranking members of the national army and ministers.
In the middle of the day, many young people driving motorcycles stormed Independence Square to show support for the military.
For several months before the mutiny, the place has been hosting rallies of the 5 June Movement – Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), which has been insisting on the resignation of the head of state.
Footage of soldiers applauded by visibly satisfied Malians have been circulating on social media.
One of the two channels of the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision du Mali (ORTM) has momentarily stopped broadcasting and workers have been asked to go home.
The public channel was recently targeted by agitated demonstrators who set fire to vehicles in the ORTM courtyard.
For the time being, the mutineers have not officially stated the real motives for their actions.
On Twitter, the President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat “strongly condemned the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the Prime Minister and other members of the Malian government and called for their immediate release.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “closely monitoring the situation and condemns the ongoing attempted mutiny.”
In power since 2013, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta has seen his rating reach rock bottom over the last few months.
Despite his incessant calls for dialogue and the mediation undertaken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), his opponents have not let up their pressure.