Mali military announces release of arrested officials | News | DW | 20.04.2012
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Mali military announces release of arrested officials

The military junta that seized power in a coup last month in Mali has said it has released 22 senior political and army officials arrested earlier in the week. A defense ministry source also said they had been freed.

The military junta that seized power in a coup last month in Mali has said it has released 22 senior political and army officials arrested earlier in the week. A defense ministry source also said they had been freed.

The military leaders behind Mali's March coup said Thursday they have released a string of senior officials arrested earlier in the week to widespread criticism.

Colonel Diamou Keita issued a statement saying he was informing "national and international public opinion" of the detainees' release.

"However, the parties involved will remain at the disposal of the authorities concerned for the purposes of the investigation," Keita also said.

The arrests by the former coup leaders had come even after the country had reinstated a civilian prime minister and president.

One of ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure's former prime ministers, the general in charge of his personal military protection and a former defense minister were among those arrested. A front-runner in April 29's hastily-planned presidential elections, triggered by the coup, was also taken into custody.

The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the UN and the EU had all criticized the military arrests.

"There is a danger that actions like this could undermine the authority of the prime minister who has just been nominated," the head of the European Union delegation in Mali, Richard Zink, said.

Officials in Mali and Senegal, meanwhile, have said that Toure has left the capital Bamako for Dakar. Citing a military source speaking on condition of anonymity, the AFP agency said that Toure had departed "with the agreement of Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo," the junior officer who led the coup.

msh/ccp (AFP, AP, Reuters)