Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on live television in the early hours of Wednesday morning following a military coup.
“I’ve decided to leave my post,” he said, clad in traditional clothing and a medical mask to protect against the coronavirus.
The president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested by the military after a mutiny on Tuesday, following months of street protests in the volatile West African state, which is also battling an Islamic insurgency.
“The president and his prime minister have been arrested.
“They are being taken to Kati military camp,” army officer Sidi Gakou told dpa earlier Tuesday.
The United Nations, European Union, African Union Commission, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have condemned the military’s actions.
The UN has called for the “immediate release” of the president, while the EU said it “condemns the coup attempt under way in Mali and rejects any anti-constitutional change.”
“This can in no way be a response to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months,” the EU said in a statement.
Later, ECOWAS said that it decided to close its member states’ borders with Mali, suspend the country from its decision-making bodies “with immediate effect,” and temporarily interrupt financial flows between its other 14 members and Bamako.
Mali has been struggling to maintain stability since tens of thousands of opposition supporters accused Mr Keita of gross intimidation and vote-buying during a parliamentary election in April, which gave his administration a firm majority.
Soldiers started to mutiny early Tuesday in the garrison town of Kati, 15 kilometres north-west of Bamako. Gunfire was heard in the capital.
A photographer told dpa there had been several thousand protesters on the streets, with people firing into the air in celebration.
Before its leaders were detained, the government had released a statement calling for calm, admitting that soldiers might have legitimate frustrations and saying they were prepared to engage in a dialogue.
The U.S., Australian, and Swedish embassies in Mali warned of possible unrest in the volatile West African country, urging their citizens to stay at home.
France, a former colonial power in Mali, condemned the mutiny.
“France has learned with concern of the mutiny that has started today in Kati, Mali.
“It condemns this serious event in the strongest terms,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The coup came after several weeks of political tensions and repeated anti-government protests during which talks between the government and the opposition, which is led by popular cleric Mahmoud Dicko, a former ally of Keita, failed.
A coup in Mali in 2012 was carried out by soldiers from the same barracks.
Political instability in Mali is seen as a dangerous development for the entire Sahel region, which already faces ongoing threats from numerous terrorist and separatist groups.
APC’s Loss in Edo is Still a Mystery to Me – El-Rufai
Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has said that he was optimistic up to three weeks ago that his party, the All Progressives Congress, would win the Edo State governorship election.
El-Rufai on Monday expressed shock at the election result because, according to him, opinion polls before the election indicated a win for the APC and its candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The governor, who spoke on Monday morning while featuring on Channels Television, said the election was “reasonably decent”.
He said, “We (APC) would have loved to win and quite frankly, I was optimistic up to three weeks ago; the polls indicated that we were going to win. I don’t know what happened in the last three weeks of the campaign.
“As you know, a large number of voters make up their minds in the last two weeks of the election. Many voters decide no matter what happens, this is how I am voting but most people want to wait and make up their minds in the last two weeks.
“Three weeks ago, the polls clearly showed that APC was going to win but the result came out differently from what we expected. Obaseki has won, that’s it. You can’t go into an election without the possibility of losing.
“The election was reasonably decent. We were all worried about violence but there was very little violence or none at all.”
Edo 2020: There’s No More APC, Okorocha Laments
A former governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, on Sunday congratulated the people of Edo State for fighting against alleged injustice in the just-concluded election won by Governor Godwin Obaseki on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Okorocha, a founding member of the All Progressives Congress, who represents Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, described the loss suffered by the party as a “revolution of the masses against injustice”.
He added that respect for the President Muhamamadu Buhari was all the party had left.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, ahead of his 58th birthday on Tuesday, Okorocha noted that “there is no more APC, what we have is the respect for President Muhammadu Buhari”.
During the event, Okorocha’s in-law and 2019 former governorship candidate in Imo State, Uche Nwosu, blamed the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, for the party’s defeat, saying “all he did was to try to muzzle people to accept a candidate they never wanted”.
“This is not what APC was built on, we expect things to be done the right way but the former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, believes that anything can come from anywhere without going through the due process,” he said.
Jubilant Edo Residents, Melaye Mock Oshiomhole As Obaseki Wins
Jubilant residents of Benin City on Sunday trooped out to celebrate the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party over the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the Saturday poll.
Some of the residents mocked a former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole, who was the major promoter of Ize-Iyamu.
This was as a former member of the National Assembly from Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye, also mocked Oshiomhole and the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Obaseki polled a total number of 307,955 votes to emerge winner of the poll while Ize-Iyamu scored 223,619 votes.
Obaseki had contested on the platform of the APC in 2016 governorship election against Ize-Iyamu who was then the candidate of the PDP and Obaseki won.
However, Obaseki and Oshiomhole, who is also a former National Chairman of the APC, fell apart and the crisis cost Obaseki the APC governorship ticket. Ize-Iyamu, who had defected to the APC ahead of the APC governorship primary election, was given the ticket.
While celebrating Obaseki’s victory on Sunday, Melaye said Oshiomhole had been reduced.
“Fellow countrymen and women, I salute you once again. I am reaching you directly from Edo. What we used to have as Osho Baba has now been reduced, downgraded and degraded to Osho pikin. Nobody should call Osho Baba again, never! The only thing you now have is Osho pikin…..
“How can you expect that a man with the umbrella will not win during the rainy season? Definitely, the PDP won. APC, how market? Oshiomhole, how market?” Melaye said before bursting into a song to mock Oshiomhole and Tinubu, who had released a video ahead of the election, urging the people of Edo to reject Obaseki.
“The dollars brought in a bullion van to Edo have gone down the drain,” Melaye added.
Also, some of Obaseki’s supporters said Oshiomhole should relocate to Lagos to join Tinubu to help him cope with the shame of the defeat.
Obaseki’s supporters called Oshiomhole many unprintable names, saying he became too arrogant after the people of Edo State compensated him to win the 2007 governorship in the state.
While dancing and singing, some of the youths said, “He (Oshiomhole) should relocate to be living with his godfather in Lagos.”
A driver, who identified himself as Lucky Godwin, said, “Edo no be Lagos; we told Oshio and his father that they will be humiliated and that has happened.”
A Lady among the supporters, who identified herself simply as Rose, said “This victory is sweet; e dey pepper Oshioo.”