Mali military releases ousted president, prime minister

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Transition Mali President Bah Ndaw is seen during his inauguration ceremony at the CICB (Centre International de Conferences de Bamako) in Bamako on September 25, 2020. - Mali's interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on September 25, 2020. /MICHELE CATTANI/AFP /Getty Images

Mali’s interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have been released following their arrest and detention on Monday, according to an aide to the vice president.

FILE PHOTO: Mali’s ousted transitional president Bah Ndaw. (Photo by MICHELE CATTANI/AFP via Getty Images)

According to news reports, Ndaw and Ouane were arrested on orders of Colonel Assimi Goita – the acting Vice President – who led the overthrow of former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last year, because of failure to consult him over a government reshuffle.

The reshuffle resulted in two fellow coup leaders being sacked from their posts.

Ndaw and Ouane subsequently resigned from their positions while still in detention on Wednesday.

“They resigned, their release was scheduled, we have nothing against them,” Baba Cissé told Reuters on Thursday.

Cisse, who refused to state any details about replacements for the duo, added their whereabouts will not be revealed to protect their security.

Regional bloc ECOWAS and other international institutions condemned the arrests and called for the release of the officials while France, Mali’s former colonial power, also threatened sanctions from the European Union.

The toppling of Ndaw and Ouane was the second such ouster in Mali in the past one year plunging the country into a deeper political and security crisis.

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