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Mali’s President, PM detained by military

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Malian President Bah Ndaw [p/courtesy]

Top military officers in Mali arrested President Bah Ndaw, prime minister Moctar Ouane and defense minister Souleymane Doucoure on Monday and put them in a military detention outside Bamako.

The move has worsened the political impasse in the West African nation just months after a military coup ousted the previous president and his administration.

President Ndaw, PM Ouane and the defense minister Souleymane Doucoure were all arrested then taken to a military base in Kati just hours after two members of the military lost their plum positions in a government reshuffle.

The arrests come after another military ouster in August toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita leaving the country exposed to violent Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State which are controlling the northern regions.

Political instability and constant military squabbles have made it impossible for Western powers and neighboring countries to restore peace and stability in Mali.

The United Nations mission in Mali has since called for the group’s “immediate and unconditional” release as it promised to take action on the rogue officers behind the detentions.

“The international community rejects in advance any act imposed by coercion, including forced resignations,” the group said.

Both Ndaw and Ouane had were tasked to preside over an 18-month transition which should see Mali back to civilian rule after the August coup but they have went against the military and took control over a number of key positions in government.

Detained Mali prime minister Moctar Ouane [p/courtesy]

But a ranking military official in Kati, which is a few kilometres away from the capital Bamako said this was not an arrest but the two were wrong to rearrange the government.

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“What they have done is not good. We are letting them know, decisions will be made.” he said.

The military base in Kati is notorious for ending the rule of  civilian leaders in Mali.  In August 2020, the military detained President Keita in Kati where they forced him to resign. A mutiny there helped topple his predecessor Amadou .

Mali has been chaos since the ouster of Keita’s predecessor, Amadou Toumani Toure in 2012 which triggered an ethnic Tuareg rebellion to take control of the northern two-thirds of the country which is under jihadists.

French forces defeated the insurgents in 2013 but they have since regrouped and now carrying out regular attacks on the army and civilians and crossing into the neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

 


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