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2020 Mali Military Coup

On Tuesday morning, August 18, 2020, heavily armed men in pick-up trucks burst into a military camp in Kati, a town that's 15km from the capital of Mali, Bamako, and fired shots in the air. Fearing they were attacked, the soldiers in the camp retaliated leading to an exchange of fire before calm returned in the camp.

Senior military officers were captured, and weapons from the armory were distributed to the mutiny soldiers.

The mutineers headed to Bamako where they arrested Speaker of the National Assembly, Minister of Finance and Chief of Staff of the National Guard.

At around 4.30 p.m., the soldiers surrounded the private residence of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, the sitting president of Mali. They captured him, and Boubou Cissé,the Prime Minister, who had taken cover at the president's house.

Several top government officials, and senior military officers were captured, and taken to the military base in Kati, alongside the President and Prime Minister.

Malian soldiers in Bamako during 2012 coup

Malian soldiers in Bamako during 2012 coup

A few minutes before midnight, his resignation speech was aired on national broadcasting station, ORTM. Part of his speech read, "I wish no blood to be spilled to keep me in power. I have decided to step down from office." He stated that he'd dissolve the National Assembly.

On the afternoon of the coup, many young people flooded at the monumental avenue, Independence Square, Bamako, in jubilation. Their excitement was the fulfilment of the June 2020 Movement. According to Foreign Policy (FP), thousands of people from all walks of life had poured in the streets of major cities in the country since early June demanding abdication of Keïta's government. "Opposition politicians, trade unions, civil society organizations, religious associations, and even personnel from security agencies came together under the June 5 Movement, or M5-RFP, to express their anger at the government's poor response to the coronavirus outbreak, unemployment, rising inequality, and the unending violence in Northern and Central Mali by local extremist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State."

In a press briefing that's aired the following day, on the national television, a spokesman for National Committee for the Salvation of People (CNSP), a newly-formed panel by the leaders of the military coup, remarked that the panel would oversee a civil political transition leading to election.

During the press briefing, the spokesman, Colonel Major Ismael Wagué, justified why they arrested the president and forced him to resign. The reasons were rife corruption in the government, bad governance, nepotism, and a deteriorating security situation. (New York Times).

The spokesman who's Deputy Chief of Staff of the Malian Air Force also declared a curfew would be enforced from 21:00-05:00 starting on August 19, 2020.

It is not known who began the mutiny, how many soldiers were involved in it, and who would be in charge for the time being before national elections are held. Also, it's uncertain when the election would be held.

On Wednesday afternoon, army Colonel Assimi Goita, after meeting with top civil servants stated that he's the chairman of CNSP, and the leader of the military coup.

According to some reports, 15 people were wounded during the coup, with four succumbing to gunshot wounds. It's thought the people were hit by stray bullets.

A spokesman for National Committee for the Salvation of People (CNSP), a newly-formed panel by the leaders of the military coup remarked that the panel will oversee a civil political transition leading to election.

During the press briefing that was aired by the national television station, ORTM, on Wednesday morning, the spokesman, Colonel Major Ismael Wagué, also justified why they arrested the president and forced him to resign - bad governance, corruption, nepotism and a deteriorating security situation. (New York Times).

The spokesman who is Deputy Chief of Staff of the Malian Air Force also declared, "As of today, 19 August 2020, all air and land borders are closed until further notice. A curfew is in place from 21:00 to 05:00 until further notice."

It is not known who began the mutiny, how many soldiers were involved in it, and who will be in charge for the time being before the elections are held. Also, it's uncertain when the election will be held since the utterance "within a reasonable timeframe' was loosely used.

Representatives from individual countries including Amnesty International, United Nations, African Union and European Union, voiced their discontent of the event. The United Nations Council which had met in a closed meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the current situation, called on the soldiers to return to their army bases.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also condemned the actions of the military. They imposed sanctions on the nation and called on the neighbouring countries to close their air and land borders against Mali.

Keïta was democratically elected in 2013 after the overthrow of his predecessor, Amadou Toumani Touré.. He was re-elected in 2018 before his government was toppled on August 2020; having only served for two years out of five years on his second term.

© 2020 Alianess Benny Njuguna

Comments

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 12, 2021:

Interesting article, thanks.

Alianess Benny Njuguna (author) from Kenya on March 11, 2021:

@Dr Mark, he was re-elected in 2018; not 2013. I have corrected that error. Thanks for bringing that up.

Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 11, 2021:

What year was he re-elected?

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