Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he has resigned to avoid "bloodshed" after he was detained in a military coup.

President Keita resigned late on Tuesday after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, plunging a country already facing a militant insurgency and mass protests deeper into crisis.
President Keita resigned late on Tuesday after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, plunging a country already facing a militant insurgency and mass protests deeper into crisis. (AP)

Mutineers who led a military coup in Mali leading to the forced resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his government have said they plan to form a civilian transitional government that will organise fresh elections.

In a statement broadcast on state-owned television early on Wednesday, a spokesman for the so-called National Committee for the Salvation of the People (NCSP) said they acted to prevent Mali from falling further "into chaos."

Flanked by soldiers, NCSP spokesman Colonel Ismael Wague invited Mali's civil society and political movements to join them to create conditions for a political transition that would lead to elections.

"Our country is sinking into chaos, anarchy and insecurity mostly due to the fault of the people who are in charge of its destiny," he said.

The military has closed the country's borders and announced a curfew between 9 pm to 5 am local time, journalist Mohamed Salaha told TRT World from Bamako.

He said many ministers and officers of the Keita government have been seized and that there's no clarity on where they have been detained.

READ MORE: Mali's president resigns after military coup

Keita in detention

Keita resigned and dissolved parliament late on Tuesday, hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, plunging a country already facing a militant insurgency and mass protests deeper into crisis.

The military coup has been condemned by Mali's regional and international partners who fear Keita's fall could further destabilise the former French colony and West Africa's entire Sahel region.

Keita said he resigned to avoid "bloodshed".

Rebel soldiers took Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse into custody on Tuesday afternoon and drove the pair to a military base on the outskirts of Bamako, which they had seized that morning.

Jubilant crowds were already gathered in the capital to demand Keita's resignation and cheered the rebel soldiers as they made their way to the 75-year-old's official residence.

Keita appeared calm as he appeared in a state television broadcast soon after midnight to declare the dissolution of the government and national assembly, and said he had no choice but to resign with immediate effect.

"If it pleased certain elements of our military to decide this should end with their intervention, do I really have a choice?" he said of the day's events.

"(I must) submit to it, because I don't want any bloodshed."

It was unclear whether Keita was still in custody at the Kati base, which, in a twist of fate, was also the site of the 2012 putsch that brought him to power.

Global concerned 

Mali's neighbours warned against any unconstitutional transfer of power.

The Economic Community of West African States (or ECOWAS) condemned the coup in a statement, pledging to close land and air borders to Mali and push for sanctions against "all the putschists and their partners and collaborators".

The 15-nation bloc – which includes Mali – also said that it would suspend the country from its internal decision-making bodies.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded the "immediate and unconditional release" of Keita and Cisse as diplomats in New York said the Security Council would hold emergency talks on Wednesday.

Turkey, United States and France also released separate statements voicing deep concern about the turn of events and urged against regime change.

Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed "deep sorrow and sadness" while France condemned the mutiny.

US joined the calls for restraint and echoed its opposition to any "extraconstitutional" change.

'Shifts in mood' 

Keita and Cisse's sudden detention came on the heels of an apparently conciliatory message from the government in Bamako – which had urged the soldiers to engage in dialogue.

"The observed shifts in mood reflect a certain frustration that may have legitimate causes," Cisse's office said in a statement, without offering further details.

It added that the government was open to "fraternal dialogue in order to remove all misunderstandings".

The drama coincided with opposition plans to resume protests against Keita.

The June 5 Movement, named for the date of its first protest, has channelled public anger against the leader that saw increasingly strident demands for his resignation.

The opposition campaign veered into crisis last month when 11 people were killed during three days of unrest sparked by a demonstration.

READ MORE: Mali opposition halts protests with regional talks around the corner

Rising tensions 

Mali is the linchpin of French-led efforts to roll back militants in the Sahel, and its neighbours are anxious to avoid the country sliding into chaos.

Swathes of its territory are already outside of the control of the government, which is struggling to contain an militant insurgency that first emerged in 2012 and has claimed thousands of lives.

The failure to end that conflict fuelled frustrations with Keita's rule, analysts say.

Tensions flared in April when the government held a long-delayed parliamentary election, the results of which are still disputed.

ECOWAS last month suggested the formation of a unity government while sticking by Keita, but the compromise was bluntly rejected by the opposition.

READ MORE: Mali president dismisses coup speculation following attacks

Source: TRTWorld and agencies