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Mali’s President and Prime Minister arrested by military officers

After last August’s military coup had overthrown Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the latest turn of events once again adds uncertainty to Mali’s political future

By The Probe
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The Probe

The President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Mali’s interim government were placed under arrest by its military officers on Monday after a cabinet reshuffle. President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defence Minister Souleymane Doucoure were reportedly taken to a military base in Kati, outside Mali’s capital Bamako.

Mali flag waving against cloudy sky | by special arrangement Mali flag waving against cloudy sky | by special arrangement

A military coup in August last year had overthrown Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The latest turn of events further adds uncertainty to the West African Country’s political future. The arrested Prime Minister and President were supposed to oversee the 18-month transition period of the country towards the run-up to the new elections that would bring back civilian rule to Mali.

According to the AFP, PM Moctar Ouane told the agency that soldiers affiliated with the interim Vice President Assimi Goita had come to take him. Colonel Goita, the VP and the leader of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, a military junta, had seized power from former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year in a military coup. Forced by international sanctions, the military government had later handed over power to an interim caretaker government that would oversee the transition period in the run up to the elections in 18 months.

The US embassy in Bamako issued a statement on Monday late night asserting that the embassy had received reports of increased military activity in Bamako. The embassy asked its citizens to avoid non-essential travel inside Bamako and to monitor local media stations for news updates.

The interim President and the Prime Minister’s arrest comes amid growing concerns about the dominance of military presence in Mali’s government structure. The arrest took place immediately after the appointment of a new government. The new government of 25 ministers that was announced on Monday had the military holding most of the key portfolios.

The UN mission in Mali, meanwhile, called for the immediate and unconditional release of the President and Prime Minister of Mali. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which is headquartered in Bamako, in a statement said that those who are holding the leaders captive will be held accountable. The statement said that MINUSMA was in close contact with ECOWAS and the African Union, within the framework of the Local Transition Monitoring Committee, as well as with the other international actors engaged in supporting the ongoing transition.

MINUSMA was established in 2013 by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2100 to stabilise the country after the Tuareg rebellion in 2012.