Military arrests African president, prime minister

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FILE PHOTO: The new interim president of Mali Bah Ndaw is sworn in during the Inauguration ceremony in Bamako, Mali September 25, 2020. REUTERS/Amadou Keita TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY/File Photo

Mali’s military has arrested the country’s president, prime minister and defense minister, adding to the country’s political turmoil, just months after a military coup overthrew the former president.

President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defense Minister Souleymane Doucoure were all taken to a military base in the capital Bamako, hours after two members of the military lost their posts in a government reshuffle, officials and diplomatic sources said.

Their arrests follow the military overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The incident could exacerbate instability in the West African country, which is controlled by al-Qaeda and ISIS-linked groups in much of the northern desert.

Political instability and civil war have intensified efforts by Western powers and neighboring countries to help the country.

The UN mission in Mali has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested group, and said those holding the leaders should be held accountable for their actions.

The State Department issued a statement calling for “unconditional release of hostages.”

President Ndaw and Prime Minister Ouane have been tasked with administering civilian rule for 18 months after the August coup, but have removed key military positions from the government.



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