UN chief calls for immediate release of Mali president, others

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the arrest of Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and top government officials by mutinying soldiers on Tuesday, calling for their immediate release, a UN spokesperson said.

“The Secretary-General … calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Soldiers had earlier in the day mutinied at the Kati military base about 15 km outside of Bamako and rounded up a number of senior civilian and military officials. A spokesman for Keita could not be reached for comment.

A mutiny in 2012 at the Kati base led to a military coup that toppled then-President Amadou Toumani Toure and hastened the fall of Mali’s north to jihadist militants, who continue to operate across the north and centre of the West African country.

Keita has faced mass protests since June calling for his resignation over alleged corruption and worsening security.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boubou Cisse issued a brief statement calling for dialogue and urging mutinous soldiers to stand down.

The United States, France and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) all condemned the mutiny.