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Malian military releases PM, President under unknown conditions

In this file photo taken on March 20, 2021 Malian Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and his delegation attend the inauguration of the new river port of Konna in central Mali.   -  
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Mali's transitional president and prime minister were released Thursday morning, a few hours after resigning, a military official told AFP on Thursday.

"The prime minister and the transitional president were released last night around 1:30 a.m. (local and GMT). We have kept our word," he said on condition of anonymity.

Family members also confirmed their release.

"The two men have returned to their homes in Bamako," they said, without specifying the conditions of their release.

Their release was one of the demands of the international community in what can be described as a second coup in nine months.

Mali's strongman, Colonel Assimi Goïta, had President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and the new Defense Minister they had just chosen arrested on Monday, as well as other senior figures.

Colonel Goïta is accusing them of having formed a new government without consulting him, even though he is the vice president in charge of security issues, a key responsibility in a country that is already in turmoil.

The military said Tuesday that Ndaw and Ouane had resigned, but it was not clear under what conditions they were released.

Since their arrest, the president and the transitional prime minister were held incommunicado at the Kati military camp, some 15 kilometers from Bamako, where President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was re-elected a year earlier, was also taken by the colonels in August 2020 and forced to announce his resignation.

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