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story.lead_photo.caption Col.-Maj. Ismael Wague (center), spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, said at a news conference Wednesday in Kati, Mali, that “mismanagement, theft and bad governance have become virtues” in his country. More photos at arkansasonline.com/820mali/. (AP/Baba Ahmed)

BAMAKO, Mali -- African and Western leaders Wednesday condemned the junta that forced Mali's president from power, warning that the coup was a deep setback for the West African nation that could threaten the battle against Islamic extremism.

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. Junta members urged Malians to return to business as usual.

A day earlier, armed soldiers fired into the air outside President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's home and took him into their custody. A distressed Keita announced his resignation on television.

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

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W_Q61SGlIM]

The African Union suspended Mali from the bloc and demanded the release of Keita and other detained government officials. Former colonizer France, which has worked to stabilize the country since leading a 2013 military operation to oust extremists from power in the north, called for an immediate return to civilian rule. The United States denounced the coup and urged dialogue.

The West African bloc ECOWAS said it would stop all economic, trade and financial flows and transactions between member-states and Mali.

Ahead of a closed meeting on Mali, the U.N. Security Council "urged those mutineers to release safely and immediately all the officials detained and to return to their barracks without delay." The U.N. is spending $1.2 billion a year on a peacekeeping mission in the country.

"The priority is to not lose the fight against terrorism," said a French official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be publicly named in accordance with official policy.

Gallery: Mali crisis

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos » arkansasonline.com/820mali/]

Tuesday's developments "represent an enormous setback" after seven years of investment by international partners to address Mali's insecurity and political challenges, said Judd Devermont, the director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The country "is going to be paralyzed by the political jockeying over the future, and our ability to work with the government and security services are going to be undercut and restrained," he said. "This intermediary period is really dangerous for the region's security."

Mali was long hailed as a pillar of stability and democracy in West Africa, but it has been beset by violence and instability since 2012, when a coup created a power vacuum that Islamic extremists took advantage of.

Information for this article was contributed by Krista Larson, Angela Charlton and Edith M. Lederer of The Associated Press.

A building belonging to the justice minister is seen after being partially burned by demonstrators on Tuesday, in the capital Bamako, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)
A building belonging to the justice minister is seen after being partially burned by demonstrators on Tuesday, in the capital Bamako, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)
People gather at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
People gather at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
People gather at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
People gather at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Taxis wait for customers at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, as life returns to normal one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Taxis wait for customers at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, as life returns to normal one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, centre, spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as National Committee for the Salvation of the People, speaks during a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. The military takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community, despite promesses of new elections. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, centre, spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as National Committee for the Salvation of the People, speaks during a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. The military takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community, despite promesses of new elections. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Street vendors gather at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, as life returns to normal one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Street vendors gather at Place de l'Independence in Mali's capital Bamako, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, as life returns to normal one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. Members of the international community already have strongly condemned Tuesday's events and have called for constitutional order to be restored. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Security forces ride in a truck in the capital Bamako, Mali Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)
Security forces ride in a truck in the capital Bamako, Mali Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)
Security forces guard the area as soldiers identifying themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People hold a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The junta that forced Mali's president to resign urged people to go back to business as usual on Wednesday, seeking to normalize their coup amid global condemnation from leaders who feared the power grab would only further mire West Africa's fight against growing Islamic extremism. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)
Security forces guard the area as soldiers identifying themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People hold a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The junta that forced Mali's president to resign urged people to go back to business as usual on Wednesday, seeking to normalize their coup amid global condemnation from leaders who feared the power grab would only further mire West Africa's fight against growing Islamic extremism. (AP Photo/Baba Ahmed)
Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, centre, spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as National Committee for the Salvation of the People, speaks during a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. The military takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community, despite promesses of new elections. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
Colonel-Major Ismael Wague, centre, spokesman for the soldiers identifying themselves as National Committee for the Salvation of the People, speaks during a press conference at Camp Soudiata in Kati, Mali, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, one day after President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was forced to resign in a military coup. The military takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community, despite promesses of new elections. (AP Photo/Arouna Sissoko)
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