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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BAMAKO — Military officers in Mali detained the country’s president, prime minister and defense minister of the interim government on Monday, prompting a strong condemnation from major international bodies such as the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union.
A joint statement signed by UN, AU, ECOWAS, the EU, the United States and the United Kingdom demanded the "immediate and unconditional liberty" of the politicians.
The arrest of the country’s civilian leaders has deepened political chaos just months after a military coup ousted the previous president.
Mali's President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defense Minister Souleymane Doucoure were all taken to a military base in Kati outside the capital Bamako, hours after two members of the military lost their positions in a government reshuffle, Reuters reported citing diplomatic and government sources.
The reported detentions came just hours after a government reshuffle, which saw two senior army officers who took part in last year's coup replaced.
Ndaw and Ouane had been tasked with overseeing an 18-month transition back to civilian rule after the August takeover, but they appear to have moved against the military's control over a number of key positions.
"The sacking of the pillars of the coup was an enormous misjudgment," a senior former Malian government official told Reuters. "The actions are probably aimed at getting them back in their jobs."
A previous coup in 2012 led to militant Islamists exploiting the instability to seize territory in northern Mali.
French troops helped regain territory, but attacks continue. — Agencies
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