File photo of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita during his meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on February 2, 2017. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canada condemns the junta that forced Mali’s president from power this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Denis Allard/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM

Canada condemns coup d’etat in Mali, says Foreign Affairs Minister Champagne

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canada condemns the junta that forced Mali’s president from power this week.

A distressed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on television after armed soldiers fired into the air outside his home and took him into custody Tuesday.

Soldiers calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People promised that they would ultimately hand power to a transitional civilian government but gave no timeline.

Condemnation of the coup was strong from many quarters, reflecting international concern about instability in Mali and West Africa amid increasing attacks by Islamic extremists and the ensuing economic fallout, which has been among the drivers of illegal migration to Europe.

Champagne says Canada, which still has a handful of military officers and police working with the UN in Mali despite wrapping up a year-long helicopter mission last September, called on Malian security forces to follow the constitution and respect human rights.

He also says any Canadians in Mali who need emergency assistance from consular officials should get in touch with the Canadian embassy in Bamako or call Global Affairs Canada’s emergency hotline.

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