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Mali soldiers behind coup take to airwaves, promise handover

A man wears a national flag as he celebrates with others in the streets in the capital Bamako, Mali Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Mutinous soldiers detained Mali’s president and prime minister Tuesday after surrounding a residence and firing into the air in an apparent coup attempt after several months of demonstrations calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s ouster. (AP Photo)

By BABA AHMED, BAMAKO, Mali (AP):- The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers behind Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Col. Maj. Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” he said, announcing that borders were closed and a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators and alarm by former colonial ruler France, and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission.

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