Mali's prime minister, arrested by military, resigns along with entire cabinet


Malian military junta supporters gesture at the airport in Bamako, Mali's capital, on March 29, 2012. A bid by west African leaders to seek a return to democratic rule in Mali fell apart Thursday when the team turned back mid-air after a pro-coup demonstration in Bamako airport.



After his arrest on Monday by members of the military, Mali's interim Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra resigned with his entire cabinet on Tuesday.

The same soldiers behind a March coup that ushered Diarra into office took the prime minister to a military encampment outside the capital before his resignation, The New York Times reported.

“Our country is living through a period of crisis. Men and women who are worried about the future of our nation are hoping for peace,” the prime minister reportedly said on television.

“It’s for this reason that I, Cheikh Modibo Diarra, am resigning along with my entire government on this day, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. I apologize before the entire population of Mali."

A spokesperson told Reuters that the PM's resignation-by-force does not amount to a coup. Interim civilian President Diouncounda Traore is still in power.


Diarra is a former NASA scientist and Microsoft chief for Africa who has headed a transitional government in Mali since April.

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The military junta told the Associated Press that Diarra was arrested because he "doesn't get along" with the army captain who lead a coup in March in Mali. 

During that time, the militants acted against popular opinion by overthrowing Mali's elected government and looting the capital.

Diarra was then appointed last spring as a caretaker prime minister until the next elections. He was known to disagree with the military, and for his desire to recapture northern Mali from the Islamists, the Times reported.

A year ago, Mali was a model democracy in Africa, but now it is closer to a failed state, GlobalPost reported in September. Security officials in the United States watch with growing alarm as militant groups sympathetic to Al Qaeda are taking over the country.