[QODLink]
Africa

Mali prime minister resigns after arrest

Cheick Modibo Diarra announces his resignation on state TV, hours after being arrested by soldiers linked to March coup.
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2012 15:08

Malian Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra has resigned hours after he was arrested as he tried to leave the country, the AFP news agency reported, citing national broadcaster ORTM.

"I, Cheik Modibo Diarra, I resign with my government," Diarra declared in a brief speech aired by ORTM. 

He gave no reason for his decision.


ViewPoint Africa editor Ayo Johnson speaks to Al Jazeera about Mali crisis

Bakary Mariko, a spokesperson for the group of soldiers who seized power in a March 21 coup, said Diarra's resignation after his arrest was not a coup, adding that a new prime minister would be named soon.

"This is not a new coup d'etat," Mariko told France 24 television.

Mariko said Diarra was 
arrested as he tried to leave the country after "inciting trouble". Diarra had been the interim prime minister since April when the army handed power back to civilians.

A member of Diarra's entourage told the AFP that he "was arrested by about 20 soldiers late on Monday.

"They said Captain Sanogo sent them to arrest him," he added, referring to the leader of the March coup.

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

'Still in control'

Jim Terrie, a former senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, a think-tank, told Al Jazeera that the prime minister had quit due to pressure from those behind the coup.

Mali - In depth
 Inside Story: Is military intervention necessary?
 Inside Story: Is the country heading for a split?
 Inside Story: Is the conflict a threat to the region?
 Explainer: The Tuareg rebels
 Tuareg rebellion: What next?
 The irrevocable crisis

"I think it's a way of saying to the prime minister and the interim president - those civilian aspects of the current government - that ‘we're still in control,'" Terrie said from Sydney, Australia.

For several weeks, tension has been mounting between the soldiers who led Mali's coup and Diarra.

Last weekend, Diarra organised a demonstration calling for a UN resolution to back a planned military intervention to retake Mali's north from armed groups. 

Diarra, a noted astrophysicist who has worked on several NASA space programmes and served as Microsoft's chairperson for Africa, had been due to leave for Paris for a medical check-up, AFP reported.

He cancelled plans to head to the airport when he learned his baggage had been taken off the plane meant to take him to France.

The source said Diarra had recorded a short message which was to be broadcast on state television, but soldiers went to the broadcaster's headquarters to confiscate the tape.

Sanogo, previously unknown, ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure's government as a rebellion by Tuareg separatists was under way in the north.

The coup only made it easier for the rebels and their allies to seize control of an area larger than France.

While Sanogo handed power to a civilian government shortly thereafter, his men have remained influential in Bamako.

618

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
join our mailing list