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World: Mali wakes up to military rule after president forced out

Gunfire heard at army base outside Mali capital

  Gunfire heard at army base outside Mali capital Gunfire broke out at a key army base near Mali's capital Bamako on Tuesday, witnesses and a security official said, triggering fears of a mutiny in the crisis-stricken Sahel state. Details of the events were sketchy, but the sources said the soldiers fired their guns into the air at a base in Kati, a town some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Bamako. An officer at the camp told AFP that the gunfire was an act of "rebellion" and many soldiers wereDetails of the events were sketchy, but the sources said the soldiers fired their guns into the air at a base in Kati, a town some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Bamako.

Mali awoke on Wednesday to a new chapter in its troubled history after rebel military leaders forced President Boubacar Keita from office, prompting its West African neighbours to threaten border closures and sanctions against the coup leaders.

a clock on the side of a building: The burnt-out home of the former justice minister after an attack by protesters was one of the few visible signs of the overthrow © ANNIE RISEMBERG The burnt-out home of the former justice minister after an attack by protesters was one of the few visible signs of the overthrow a car driving on a city street: IMAGESMorning traffic on Independence Square, a site of opposition protests in the Malian capital of Bamako, after a military coup which overthrew embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. © Malick KONATE IMAGESMorning traffic on Independence Square, a site of opposition protests in the Malian capital of Bamako, after a military coup which overthrew embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Keita, embattled by months of protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency, said he had resigned to avoid bloodshed.

Mali coup could worry Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron

  Mali coup could worry Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron A coup in Mali, West Africa, could have ramifications far beyond its borders, threatening to further destabilize across the region and jeopardizing counter-insurgency efforts led by France and the United States. © Malik Konate/AFP/Getty Images Malian soldiers are celebrated as they arrive at the Independence square in Bamako on August 18, 2020. - Mali's Prime Minister Boubou Cisse called on August 18, 2020, for "fraternal dialogue" with soldiers who seized a key military garrison and have triggered fears of a coup attempt. The prime minister also admitted that the soldiers may have "legitimate frustrations".

a close up of a map: Map showing the West African country of Mali and the sequence of events leading to resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. © Janis LATVELS Map showing the West African country of Mali and the sequence of events leading to resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

There were few obvious traces of the previous day's drama in the capital Bamako -- there were no troops on the streets despite the coup leaders announcing a night-time curfew.

The burnt-out home of the former justice minister after an attack by protesters was one of the few visible signs of the overthrow.

Jubilant crowds had cheered the rebels on Tuesday as they arrived in Bamako, where they detained Keita along with Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded the "immediate and unconditional release" of both men as diplomats in New York said the Security Council would hold emergency talks on Wednesday.

Pompeo condemns 'mutiny' in Mali

  Pompeo condemns 'mutiny' in Mali Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday condemned the military coup in Mali and called for the release of arrested government officials and their families as well as assurances about their safety.Pompeo labeled Tuesday's events a "mutiny" and called on "all political and military actors to work towards a restoration of constitutional government.""The United States strongly condemns the August 18 mutiny in Mali as we would condemn any forcible seizure of power," the secretary said in a statement.

a close up of a newspaper: Factfile on Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who resigned with immediate effect late Tuesday after a military coup. © John SAEKI Factfile on Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita who resigned with immediate effect late Tuesday after a military coup.

It was unclear whether Keita was still in custody on Wednesday at the Kati military base -- a facility seized by the mutineers that was also the site of the 2012 coup that brought him to power.

The coup leaders appeared on television overnight to pledge a political transition and new elections within a "reasonable time".

Malian Air Force deputy chief of staff Ismael Wague said he and his fellow officers had "decided to take responsibility in front of the people and of history".

a group of people holding a sign posing for the camera: Malians hold up a placard reading 'Long live CMAS (Coordination of movements and associations sympathetic to Imam Mahmoud Dicko) - long live Mali - Good Bye IBK (for Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita) as they demonstrate at Independence Square in Bamako on August 18, 2020, after rebel troops seized Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis. Neighbouring states in West Africa, along with France, the European Union and the African Union, condemned the sudden mutiny and warned against any unconstitutional change of power in the fragile country. © STRINGER Malians hold up a placard reading 'Long live CMAS (Coordination of movements and associations sympathetic to Imam Mahmoud Dicko) - long live Mali - Good Bye IBK (for Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita) as they demonstrate at Independence Square in Bamako on August 18, 2020, after rebel troops seized Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis. Neighbouring states in West Africa, along with France, the European Union and the African Union, condemned the sudden mutiny and warned against any unconstitutional change of power in the fragile country.

There were no reports of casualties during the military takeover but the coup leaders announced a curfew and border closures, in effect sealing off the country.

Canada 'strongly' condemns Mali coup: minister

  Canada 'strongly' condemns Mali coup: minister Canada on Wednesday "strongly" condemned a coup in Mali that deposed the conflict-hit west African country's president, and called for respect for Mali's "constitutional order." "Canada strongly condemns the coup d'etat in Mali, which forced the resignation of democratically elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita," foreign affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement. Keita was overthrown Tuesday by rebel military officers and detained alongside members of his government including Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

- Jihadist insurgency -

French President Emmanuel Macron was among the first to condemn the mutiny, his office saying that he still supported mediation efforts by other West African states.

Mali is the cornerstone of French-led efforts to roll back jihadists in the Sahel, and its neighbours are anxious to avoid the country sliding into chaos.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Jubilant crowds cheered the rebels as they arrived in central Bamkako on Tuesday © STRINGER Jubilant crowds cheered the rebels as they arrived in central Bamkako on Tuesday

Colonel Wague said "all past agreements" would be respected, including Mali's support for anti-jihadist missions in the region.

"MINUSMA (the UN force in Mali), (France's) Barkhane force, the G5 Sahel, Takuba (a European special-forces initiative) remain our partners," he said.

The coup leaders also remain "committed to the Algiers process," a 2015 peace agreement between the Malian government and armed groups in the north of the country, he said.

Swathes of Mali's territory are outside of the control of the central authorities.

West African leaders add to pressure on Mali after coup

  West African leaders add to pressure on Mali after coup West African leaders headed to Mali on Saturday days after a military coup, planning to meet the new junta as well as ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita amid escalating diplomatic pressure for a speedy return to civilian rule. Led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, the group from the West African bloc ECOWAS was expected in capital Bamako Saturday afternoon. A delegation official said they would meet members of the junta and later Keita, who is being held with prime minister Boubou Cisse in Kati, a military base northwest of Bamako where the coup was unleashed.

Years of fighting have failed to brake an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives since emerging in 2012.

The failure fuelled frustrations with Keita's rule and tensions flared in April after the government held long-delayed parliamentary elections, the results of which are still disputed.

- Sanctions threat -

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last month suggested the formation of a unity government while offering continued support for Keita, but the compromise was slapped down by the opposition.

ECOWAS condemned the coup in a statement, pledging to close land and air borders to Mali and push for sanctions against "all the putschists and their partners and collaborators".

The 15-nation bloc -- which includes Mali -- also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies.

Further afield, Morocco on Wednesday stressed the need for "stability" in Mali, calling for "responsible dialogue, respect for constitutional order and the preservation of democratic gains."

The coup coincided with opposition plans to resume protests against Keita.

The June 5 Movement, named after the date of its first protest, focussed public anger against the leader and made increasingly strident demands for his resignation.

Its campaign veered into crisis last month when 11 people were killed during three days of unrest sparked by a demonstration.

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EU freezes Mali training missions after coup .
EU freezes Mali training missions after coupBRUSSELS/BAMAKO (Reuters) - The European Union has suspended its training missions in Mali after the military coup this month that removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from power, EU officials said on Wednesday.

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