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Mali: “Ben the Brain” in police custody after comments about the junta

Mali: “Ben the Brain” in police custody after comments about the junta
Malian soldiers march on the Kati military base in Mali on 19 August 2020.   -  
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The head of an association known to be close to the military in power in Mali was placed in police custody on Monday in Bamako, after calling for respect for the duration of the transition before civilians return to command, AFP learned from from a security source.

Adama Ben Diarran, known as "Ben the Brain", heads the Yerewolo-Debout sur les Remparts association, which actively supports the military who rule Mali after overthrowing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on August 18, 2020.

Mr. Diarra received a summons on Monday morning from the judicial investigation brigade (BIJ), a police unit, to which he responded in the afternoon, following a request from the prosecution, said a security source close to the BIJ told AFP.

He was interviewed at the BIJ for "undermining the credit of the State", said this source without specifying the exact facts alleged against Mr. Diarra, also a member of the **National Transitional Council (**CNT), which holds place of legislative body in Mali and was installed by the military.

He was then placed in police custody at the BIJ on Monday evening and must be presented Tuesday morning to a prosecutor in commune VI of Bamako, a source close to this unit told AFP.

The leader of Yerewolo-Standing on the ramparts, on August 27 on a private radio, called on the junta to respect the duration of the transition, after the military made a commitment to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to return power to civilians in March 2024.

He also criticized the management of the junta and deplored the arrests made, according to him, by the security services.

After overthrowing President Keïta, the Malian junta demanded the withdrawal of the French Barkhane force, effective since 2022, then requested that the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission (MINUSMA) by the end of the year.

The junta has made sovereignty its mantra, broken the alliance with France and its partners in the fight against jihadism, to turn militarily and politically towards Russia.

Since 2012, Mali has been gripped by a deep security crisis that started in the north and spread to the center of the country as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

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