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Malian Colonel, Assimi Goita Declares Self As Head Of Junta

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Malian army officer, Colonel Assimi Goita, has declared himself as the coup leader who overthrew president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Tuesday, August 18.

Rebel soldiers detained the president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and drove them to a military base in the town of Kati, near the capital Bamako, following months of massive protests against their administration.

After meeting with top civil servants on Wednesday, August 19, Colonel Assimi Goita spoke;

Let me introduce myself, I am colonel Assimi Goita, chairman of the National Committee for the salvation of the People.

The colonel had appeared among a group of officers seen on television overnight Tuesday-Wednesday to announce the takeover, but did not speak. He served in the special ops unit of the Malian armed forces.

Meanwhile, coup chiefs have called on the public to return to normal life, warned against acts of “vandalism” and threatened to punish any soldier found guilty of extortion.

They however did not make any reference to the detained leaders or their whereabouts, as at the time of filing this report.

The dramatic events in one of Africa’s most volatile countries began early Tuesday, when rebel officers mutinied at a base near Bamako and headed into the city, where they detained Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse.

Hours later, Keita – beset by angry protests over economic stagnation, corruption and a brutal Islamist insurgency — announced his resignation.

He said he had been given no other choice but to quit, and sought to avoid bloodshed after which crowds cheered the rebels for the coup.

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