UPDATE – Malian military arrests interim president, premier: Media


By Aurore Bonny

LOME, Togo (AA) – Mali's military on Monday arrested the country's interim president, premier and defense chief, transporting them to a military base, news outlets reported.

A military escort accompanied President Bah N'Daw, who leads the transitional government, along with Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defense Minister Souleymane Doucoure to the Kati military camp located 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the capital Bamako, the pan-African media outlet Jeune Afrique reported, quoting diplomatic sources.

The arrest came just hours after the appointment of a new government following consultations between N'Daw and civil society groups. Those meetings preceded the resignation earlier this month of the previous government led by Ouane, who was reappointed by N'Daw to form a new government.

Turkey's embassy in Bamako advised Turkish nationals in the country to be cautious and not to go outside unless necessary following local reports of increased military activity.

The US Embassy also reported increased military activity in Bamako and encouraged Americans to avoid non-essential travel inside the city and monitor local media for updates.

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the president and prime minister.

It also warned that "those holding them will be held accountable" and "must ensure the integrity of those detained.”

"We are following events closely and remain committed to supporting the transition. We call for calm," it wrote on Twitter.

“The ill-considered action taken today carries the risk of weakening the mobilization of the international community in favor of Mali," the local transition monitoring committee said in a statement received by Anadolu Agency.

The committee, made up of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and MINUSMA, rejected "in advance any act imposed by coercion, including forced resignations.”

*Jeyhun Aliyev contributed to this story from Ankara