BAMAKO, MALI -- The soldiers who forced Mali's president from power promised Wednesday to hold elections to return the country to civilian rule, but African and Western leaders quickly condemned the coup and expressed concern for the country's stability.

After months of anti-government protests amid deteriorating security in the West African nation, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's hand was forced Tuesday when mutinous soldiers surrounded his residence, fired shots into the air and eventually detained him and his prime minister. Keita later announced his resignation on state broadcaster ORTM.

News of Keita's departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France, and other allies and foreign nations.

The mutinous soldiers - who identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People - tried to calm concerns in an address on state broadcaster ORTM early Wednesday.

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