The Associated Press is reporting that Mali’s Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra, 60, has been arrested and forced to resign. Diarra made the announcement hours after military soldiers stormed his house. Diarra was arrested by approximately 20 soldiers who showed up just as he was planning to leave the country.

Diarra is a NASA astrophysicist who has contributed to numerous space exploration missions including the Magellan probe to Venus and the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter. The writer states that Diarra offered the following via state run television:

“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 on television. “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.”

He is now under house arrest, said a spokesman for the junta, Bakary Mariko. Diarra’s arrest comes after a coup in March taking authority away from the military and giving it back to civilians. The U.N. is currently deciding whether to back a military intervention in Mali, which has been in a constant state of turmoil in recent years. The forced resignation of Diarra has been rejected because of the inability to determine whether empowering the military to try and take back Mali’s north from Islamic extremists.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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