Soldiers in Mali have arrested the country’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse in a suspected coup.
The mutinying soldiers had earlier arrested a number of senior civilian and military officials on Tuesday.
In a tweet Tuesday evening, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned reports of the arrests.
“I strongly condemn the arrest of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Prime Minister and other members of the Malian Government and call for their immediate release,” Mahamat wrote in French.
He called on “the mutineers to cease all use of violence” while asking the United Nations and the international community to oppose any use of force to end the political crisis.
2/3:Je condamne énergiquement toute tentative de changement anti constitutionnel et appelle les mutins à cesser tout recours à la violence et au respect des institutions républicaines. #Mali
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) August 18, 2020
The European Union has also condemned the “coup attempt.”
“The European Union condemns the coup attempt underway in Mali and rejects any unconstitutional change,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said.
“This can in no way be an answer to the deep socio-political crisis that has hit Mali for several months.”
Keita has faced growing public discontent since May, after the country’s top constitutional court overturned results from disputed parliamentary elections.
That ruling paved the way for the 75-year-old’s party to occupy a majority of the vacant seats.
He was first elected as Mali’s president in 2013. There had been a successful military coup in 2012.