Mali’s President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, has resigned, after being detained and ousted in a coup by soldiers on Tuesday.
In a televised address on state television, Keïta said he was also dissolving the government and parliament.
It comes hours after he and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé were taken to a military camp in the town of Kati, near the capital Bamako, drawing condemnation from regional powers and France.
He said: “I want no blood to be spilled to keep me in power.
“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?
“I hold no hatred towards anyone, my love of my country does not allow me to,” adding, “May God save us.”
Keita appeared calm as he appeared in a state television broadcast after midnight to declare the dissolution of the government and National Assembly.
There has been anger among soldiers about pay and over a continuing conflict with jihadists – as well as widespread discontent with the former president.
The coup was led by Colonel Malick Diaw – deputy head of the Kati camp – and another commander, General Sadio Camara, according to the BBC.
It remains unclear whether Keita is 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.
The Economic Community of West African States (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.
Jean Yves Le Drian, France’s Foreign Minister, said France condemned “in the strongest terms this serious event” and he too urged soldiers to return to barracks.
The UN Security Council is to meet on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments in Mali.
President Keita won a second term in elections in 2018, but there has been widespread protest for months led by a popular imam, Mahmoud Dicko, calling on him to step down.
The protesters have lamented over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and the worsening security situation in the country, with jihadist and communal violence on the increase.