Mali's president announced his resignation late Tuesday, just hours after armed soldiers seized him from his home in a dramatic power grab following months of protests demanding his ouster.
The news of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators and alarm by former colonial ruler France, and other allies and foreign nations.
The UN Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the UN has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission.
Speaking on national broadcaster ORTM just before midnight, a distressed Keita, wearing a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said his resignation - three years before his final term was due to end - was effective immediately. A banner across the bottom of the television screen referred to him as the "outgoing president." "I wish no blood to be shed to keep me in power," Keita said. "I have decided to step down from office." He also announced that his government and the National Assembly would be dissolved, certain to further the country's turmoil amid an eight-year Islamic insurgency and the growing coronavirus pandemic.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)