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CNB News – Mali’s president and prime minister have resigned days after the military detained them in what appeared to be a coup.

The resignations of Malian President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and their detention at the Malian military’s headquarters has paved the way for Assimi Goita, the vice president and a colonel in the military, to take control of the country.

“The president and his prime minister have resigned. Negotiations are ongoing for their liberation and the formation of a new government,” Baba Cisse, an aide to Goita, told Reuters.

The resignations come two days after N’Daw and Ouane were detained in the town of Kati, located in a stronghold of the country’s junta.

Their arrests appeared to be precipated by the announcement of new Cabinet ministers, which did not include top military allies.

N’Daw and Ouane had both been in office since September after the junta agreed relinquish power to a civilian transitional government. The military had grabbed power just a month earlier after it forced the resignation of then-President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

“The United States strongly condemns the detention of civilian leaders of Mali’s transition government,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who added that “we are working closely with the local transition monitoring committee and other international actors to seek the immediate and unconditional release of those detained and resumption of the civilian-led transition.”

“A democratic, civilian-led government presents the best opportunity to achieve security and prosperity in Mali and the wider Sahel region. The Malian transition government’s commitment to a civilian-led transition and democratic elections in 2022 set the stage for Mali’s continued engagement with international partners to advance democracy, human rights, peace, and security efforts. The events of May 24 put that progress at risk.”

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