Mali frees 11 political and military figures

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 10: Prime Minister of Mali Boubou Cisse makes a statement after his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace, on September 10, 2019 in Paris, France. Boubou Cisse is on a working visit to France from September 9 to 11, 2019. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
Former Prime Minister of Mali Boubou Cisse. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

11 political and military figures arrested during the coup in Mali in August have been released, including former prime minister Boubou Cisse, the transition authorities announced.

New army strongman Assimi Goita issued an official statement late Wednesday saying “the political and military personalities arrested on August 18 have been set free”.

They would, however, “remain at the disposal of the courts if needed”.

Those released including former National Assembly speaker Moussa Timbine and eight generals.

The rebels put in place a president and a transition government while retaining a grip on power.

A transition government tasked with leading Mali back to civilian rule was appointed on Monday, with numerous members of the junta occupying key posts.

Colonel Goita was named vice president of the transition government last month.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS on Tuesday lifted tough sanctions on Mali after recording “notable advances towards constitutional normalization”.

The 15-nation group called for the civilian and military figures detained during the bloodless coup to be freed.

ECOWAS has also demanded the dissolution of the junta, which calls itself the National Council for the Salvation of the People.