Malian President, Ibrahim Keita resigns after arrest by rebel soldiers

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Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has resigned hours after he was arrested by mutinous soldiers following months of massive protests.

The 75-year-old Keita said he wished to avoid any bloodshed in a resignation speech delivered on state television.

“I want no blood to be spilled to keep me in power,” he added.

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Rebel soldiers had reportedly arrested Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Tuesday at Keita’s house in the capital of Bamako and took them to a military camp in Kati.

“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” said Keïta.

“I hold no hatred towards anyone, my love of my country does not allow me to,” he added. “May God save us.”

Jubilant crowds in the city center, gathered to demand Keita’s resignation, cheered the rebels as they made their way to the Keita‘s official residence.

There has been anger among troops about pay and over a continuing conflict with jihadists – as well as widespread discontent with the former president.

Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but there has been anger over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and the rise of communal violence in areas of the country.

It has prompted several large protests in recent months. A new opposition coalition led by the conservative Imam, Mahmoud Dicko, has called for reforms after rejecting concessions from Keïta, including the formation of a unity government.