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Mali president resigns after being arrested by troops

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Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation in an aired address on national broadcaster ORTM after being arrested by troops in an apparent military coup earlier Tuesday. 

The statement in the state-run broadcaster came after midnight local time, and Keita said he had few choices to avoid any bloodshed.

Keita and his Prime Minister Boubou Cisse were arrested along with other government officials earlier in the day, according to the head of the African Union.

A spokesperson for African Union Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a statement that Mahamat “strongly condemns” the arrests of the two leaders and other members of the Malian government and “calls for their immediate release.”

The European Union also condemned the coup, calling for “dialogue” to strengthen human rights and avoid destabilizing the region in Western Africa. 

Keita took office as Mali’s president in 2013 after having served as prime minister from 1994-2000. He had faced growing discontent since May when the country’s Supreme Court overturned results from disputed parliamentary elections, paving the way for his party to occupy a majority of the vacant seats.

Protesters expressed frustration with the current government’s inability to tamp down an Islamist insurgency in the West African country.

On Tuesday videos surfaced of troops driving through the capital city of Bamako, shooting guns in the air surrounded by cheering crowds. 

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