Mali Soldiers Detain President, Prime Minister | Voice of America

WASHINGTON/BAMAKO, MALI – Soldiers in Mali’s capital mutinied Tuesday and have taken President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse into custody. 

A reporter for VOA’s French to Africa service (Kassim Traoré) says the president was arrested at his house in Bamako Tuesday and taken to a military camp in the town of Kati, 15 kilometers away.  Cisse was taken to the same camp.

Gunfire erupted at the Kati base earlier in the day.   Mali reporter Bram Posthumus told VOA English to Africa that “soldiers went on the rampage, got to the arsenals, got the guns, started shooting in the air, went out and cut off access to the camp.”

No casualties have been reported in the unrest. 

A mutiny at the same camp triggered a coup against Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure in 2012.

Opposition supporters react to the news of a possible mutiny of soldiers in the military base in Kati, outside the capital Bamako, at Independence Square in Bamako, Mali, Aug. 18, 2020.

Earlier Tuesday, the Norwegian embassy in Mali warned that a mutiny in the armed forces was under way, and several embassies warned their nationals to stay home.

The U.S. embassy in Bamako has told staff to shelter in place and warned Americans to stay away from areas of demonstrations or police and military activity.

Opposition supporters have held several large protests since June calling for President Keita’s resignation.  Clashes between security forces and protesters in July killed at least 11 people. 

FILE – Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita wears a face mask during the G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Critics blame the president for a faltering economy and for failing to stop an eight-year Islamist insurgency in the north.  Tensions escalated in April after the Constitutional Court overturned results from a disputed parliamentary election, allowing Keita’s party to take a majority of the vacant seats.  

VOA English to Africa, French to Africa and the Bambara service contributed to this report.


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