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Mali Military Frees President, Prime Minister

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Mali’s interim President and Premier have been released, a military official said Thursday, three days after they were detained and stripped of their powers in what appeared to be the country’s second coup in nine months.

“The interim president and prime minister were released overnight around 1:30 am (0130 GMT). We were true to our word,” the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Family members confirmed that President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane had been freed.

The two men have returned to their homes in the capital Bamako, those close to them said, though the conditions of their release were not clear.

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Their release was one of demands of the international community.

In a move that sparked widespread diplomatic anger, the pair were detained on Monday by army officers who were apparently disgruntled by a government reshuffle.

The two were held at the Kati military camp around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Bamako.

Ndaw and Ouane had been heading an interim government that was installed in September under the threat of regional sanctions, with the declared aim of restoring full civilian rule within 18 months.

Assimi Goita, who headed a junta which seized power less than 10 months ago, said Tuesday that the pair had been stripped of their powers.

On Wednesday, the interim leaders resigned in the presence of mediators visiting the military base.

Credit: AFP

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