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Mali's military releases president and prime minister

May 27, 2021

Mali's interim president and prime minister have resigned and their arrests may have jeopardized the country's transition back to democracy.

Transitional President Bah Ndaw
Mali's ousted President Bah N'daw's interim government was formed in SeptemberImage: Amadou Keita/Reuters

Mali's temporary president and prime minister were released on Thursday after the military detained them for three days, a top official said. 

The arrests of Interim President Bah N'daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane triggered a political crisis in the West African country. 

The president resigned from his post while in detention on Wednesday. The interim Vice President Assimi Goita had orchestrated the arrests.

"They resigned, their release was scheduled, we have nothing against them," said Goita's aide Baba Cisse.

The international community and Malian opposition had demanded the immediate release of the two leaders. Western countries also threatened to impose sanctions on Mali. 

How did Mali's political crisis unfold?

Monday's arrests came just hours after two senior military officials lost their posts in a government reshuffle.

Goita said he ousted N'daw and Ouane because they violated a transitional charter by not consulting with him about the nomination of the new government.

Goita had led a coup in August last year, forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign.

"The initial participants of the August 2020 coup believe that they must remain in the government," Salif Traore, a security specialist in the Sahel, told DW.

N'Daw and Ouane's interim government was formed in September and was set to govern for 18 months. Their administration was tasked with implementing reforms and eventually holding elections.

fb/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)