Mali PM Cheik Modibo Diarra resigns after army arrest
Publisher: BBC News
Story date: 10/12/2012
Language: English

The prime minister of Mali has resigned on state television, hours after being arrested by soldiers who were behind a military coup in March.

Cheik Modibo Diarra was detained on Monday at his home in the capital Bamako, reportedly on the orders of the coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo.

He had been due to travel to France.

Mr Diarra was made prime minister of an interim government in April after the military officially handed power back to civilians.

But tensions between the soldiers who led the coup and the civilian prime minister they were forced to appoint have been mounting in recent weeks.

'Hope for peace'

In his address, Mr Diarra said: "Men and women who are worried about the future of our nation, you are hoping for peace. It's for this reason that I, Cheikh Modibo Diarra, am resigning along with my entire government."

A member of the president's entourage earlier confirmed reports that the prime minister had been arrested, AFP reports.

The source said soldiers had: "smashed in the door of the prime minister's residence and took him away a bit violently".

"They said Captain Sanogo sent them to arrest him," he added.

Security officials said Mr Diarra was driven to the Kati military camp, a sprawling military base where the 21 March coup was launched.

A spokesman for the group of soldiers, Bakary Mariko, told Reuters that Mr Diarra "wanted to leave the country having incited trouble".

The prime minister had been about to leave the country for France – his reasons for going were unclear, although AFP said he was due to have a medical check-up there.

Mr Diarra, the son-in-law of a former Malian coup leader and president, had been leading a government of national unity.

It was formed in August in an attempt to restore stability following the coup, which allowed Islamists and Tuareg separatists to seize the entire northern half of the country.

The 60-year-old astrophysicist and premier supports plans to send a west African intervention force into the occupied territory to drive out the extremists.

Many within Mali's military are opposed to foreign intervention, saying they need only financial and logistical support.

The United Nations warned on Monday that the north of the country is now "one of the potentially most explosive corners of the world".
 

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