The President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has finally resigned after he was arrested by his rebel soldiers over allegations of corruption.
The besieged head of state said he did not wish for blood to be shed following a military mutiny that has since plunged the country into a political crisis.
In a statement that was broadcast on national television earlier on Wednesday, August 19, Keita said he had no choice other than giving up his duties for now.
“Today, certain parts of the military have decided that intervention was necessary. Do I really have a choice? Because I do not wish blood to be shed,” Keita was quoted as saying in a brief statement broadcast on national television
Keita said that he had decided “to give up my duty from now on.”
Despite his resignation, it is still unclear if the country is now officially under the military leadership.
As earlier reported, Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested in Bako on Tuesday, August 11, after a number of senior civilian and military officials were also reportedly rounded up by the soldiers.
Keita’s arrest came amid a week-long crisis in which Opposition leaders had taken to the streets demanding his exit accusing him of allowing the country’s economy to collapse and mishandling a worsening security situation.
West African countries, the European Union (EU), and the African Union called out the soldiers and warned against any unconstitutional change of power in the country.
The soldiers are expected to deliver a statement over the next step of action soon.
Keita becomes the second African leader to be removed from power in 2020 barely months after Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir was dethroned in a military coup.