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Global calls for Mali's ousted president to be released

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The international community condemned the rebellion in Mali and called for the immediate release of the ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who resigned on Wednesday.

Rebelling soldiers detained the now-former president a day earlier, throwing the fragile nation already fighting against jihadism in the Sahel into further crisis.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, strongly condemned all attempts at anti-constitutional change and the use of violence, calling for respect for republican institutions.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also condemned the "unconstitutional change of government".

The Economic Community of West African States has announced immediate measures, including the closure of borders and the halting of all economic, commercial and financial flows and transactions.

The communiqué announces that Mali is suspended from all ECOWAS governing bodies until constitutional order is restored, and pledges to sanction the mutineers and their supporters.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has given his full support to the African Union and ECOWAS to reach a negotiated and peaceful solution.

A video conference of ECOWAS heads of state on "the situation in Mali" will be held on Thursday under the chairmanship of the President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou.

The United States also condemned the "mutiny" and called for the arrested officials to be released.

The European Union, meanwhile, said the fight against jihadism and security in the Sahel was a "priority".