İrem UZUN -TDO- Military officers have taken charge in Mali after detaining President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at gunpoint and forcing him to resign. The 75-year-old Keita had been the target of weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation over what opponents said were his failure to restore security, address corruption and lift living standards.
Soldiers who ousted Keita say they plan to set up a civilian transitional government and hold new elections. The spokesman for the soldiers, calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, said they acted to prevent the country falling further into chaos. "We are keen on the stability of the country, which will allow us to organize general elections to allow Mali to equip itself with strong institutions within the reasonable time limit," said the group's spokesman, Col Ismaël Wagué, the air force deputy chief of staff.
The European Union condemned the coup, saying it would reject all unconstitutional change in the country. In a statement, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the social and political crisis that has lasted for months in the country cannot be responded to by such initiatives. European Council President Charles Michel said earlier that he is following developments in Mali closely and that “a coup is never the solution to a crisis.”