Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse have been arrested by mutinying soldiers in the capital, Bamako, prompting opposition supporters to take to the streets in celebration.
Keita’s detention on Tuesday at his residence in southwestern Bamako followed hours of uncertainty after soldiers mutinied in the morning at the Kati military base outside the capital and rounded up a number of senior civilian officials and military officers.
Rumours earlier in the day that the mutineers had detained Keita prompted hundreds of anti-government demonstrators to pour into a central square in Bamako.
In power since 2013, the 75-year-old president has faced weeks of opposition protests calling for his departure after disputed parliamentary elections earlier this year.
Protesters accuse him of allowing the country’s weak economy to collapse and failing to address a worsening security situation, among other grievances.
Mali has been plagued by an eight-year conflict that began as a separatist movement in the north but soon devolved into a multitude of armed groups jockeying for control in the country’s central region.
Opposition supporters took to the streets after reports of an apparent mutiny in Kati, outside Bamako, emerged. [Rey Byhre/Reuters] The events began on Tuesday morning with soldiers firing into the air at the base in Kati, a garrison town some 15km (nine miles) from Bamako. [Moussa Kalapo/EPA] Opposition supporters react to the news of a possible mutiny of soldiers in the military base in Kati, the sign reads: ‘Down with France and its governor.’ [Rey Byhre/Reuters] ‘We have come out today to call for the total resignation of president Keita because we heard there were shots fired by the military and we came out to help our soldiers to get rid of the president,’ a protester said. [Malik Konate/AFP] ‘Everything is being done peacefully,’ said another protester. ‘As a member of the opposition movement, I thank them.’ [Rey Byhre/Reuters] Malian soldiers in civilian clothes are cheered on as they arrive at Bamako’s Independence Square. [Malik Konate/AFP] Keita has faced weeks of opposition protests calling for his departure after disputed parliamentary elections earlier this year. [Rey Byhre/Reuters]LINK ORIGINAL: Aljazeera