“Our country is living through a period of crisis. Men and women who are worried about the future of our nation are hoping for peace,” he said. “It’s for this reason that I, Cheikh Modibo Diarra, am resigning along with my entire government on this day, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. I apologize before the entire population of Mali.”

Thus Cheikh Modibo Diarra, Mali’s interim Prime Minister, sweating, shocked and in a make shift studio, resigned his post. Last night he had been been arrested from his home in Bamako, bundled into a car and driven off to face Captain Sanago and his junta. 

I guess they were discussing his recent involvement in organising demonstartions in Bamako calling on the international world to come to Mali’s help to recapture the north from the islamists so that Malians from all sides can get on with working out the peace that they all want now. The question is begged, why was this not conducive to Sanago’s program?

This latest round in the shifts of power in the Mali crisis has been, like all the others, characerized less by the bullet and more by the “music”, not a game of cowboys and indians but more of musical chairs.

The massacre of military personnel at Aguelhoc occured because the Malian military had no bullets. The resulting confusion over who had committed this war crime  – MNLA rebels as the government wanted to say or AQMI islamists as the Tuareg themselves claim – and the subsequent anger and shame amongst military families and the poulation in Bamako that the government couldn’t even protect its own army gave Sanago the platform on which to launch the coup d’etat.

The coup d’etat itself was not the usual gun battle we have come to expect around an African president’s  relaease of power. Not a shot was fired, it is uncertain whether President Amadou Toumani Toure was even at home to greet the incoming Sanago or whether he was already in his safe house.

Then the vacuum of power and authority created by this bloodless coup enabled the MNLA rebels and the AQMI/MUJAO islamists and Ansar Dine to sweep across the desert and take Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal in quick succession without a bullet fired.