Pretoria - South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday condemned the detaining of Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at gun point by mutineering soldiers, which subsequently led to his resignation.
Ramaphosa, who is the current chair of the African Union, said he condemned the unconstitutional change of government in the west African country.
In a statement, Ramaphosa called for an immediate return to civilian rule and for the military to return to their barracks.
He urged the citizens of Mali, political parties and civil society to observe the rule of law and engage in "peaceful dialogue" in order to resolve their challenges.
The South African president further urged African leaders and the entire international community to denounce and reject the military-led unconstitutional change of government, and to assist the people of Mali to return to civilian and democratic rule.
According to Al Jazeera, Keita announced he was stepping down in a brief address on national broadcaster ORTM at around midnight on Tuesday.
This after he was detained earlier in the day, along with prime minister Boubou Cisse and other top officials, at a military camp near the capital Bamako.
The broadcaster reported that the soldiers behind the coup, calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, appeared on state television in military fatigues, pledging to stabilise the country.
"We are not holding on to power, but we are holding on to the stability of the country," said Ismail Wague, Mali Air Force's deputy chief of staff.
"With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness. This will allow us to organise within an agreed reasonable time frame, general elections to equip Mali with strong institutions, which are able to better manage our everyday lives and restore confidence between the government and the governed," Wague was quoted as saying.
African News Agency