Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse have been detained by mutinying soldiers in the capital, Bamako, in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis in the country.
The development on Tuesday came hours after soldiers took up arms and staged a mutiny at a key base in Kati, a town close to Bamako.
The soldiers were expected to deliver a statement later in the day, while countries in West Africa, along with former colonial power France, the European Union and the African Union, denounced the actions of the soldiers and warned against any unconstitutional change of power.
The events came amid a weeks-long political crisis that has seen opposition protesters taking to the streets to demand the departure of Keita, accusing him of allowing the country’s economy to collapse and mishandling a worsening security situation.
Mali’s years-long conflict, in which ideologically-motivated armed groups have stoked ethnic tensions while jockeying for power, has spilled into the neighbouring countries of Niger and Burkina Faso, destabilising the wider Sahel region and creating a massive humanitarian crisis.
Earlier on Tuesday, opposition protesters gathered at a square in Bamako in a show of support for the soldiers, while foreign embassies advised their citizens to stay indoors.
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