Bamako (AP) – Mali’s interim President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane have been arrested by soldiers. So said a military officer who wanted to remain anonymous, the German news agency.
N’Daw and Ouane were therefore taken to a military camp in Kati, 15 kilometers northwest of the capital, Bamako. The UN mission Minusma, which should support the peace process in the West African country, called for peace on Twitter and demanded the immediate release of the two arrested. Those who held her were to be held accountable.
A few hours earlier, the leaders of the transitional government had appointed by decree a new cabinet in which the military would hold strategically important positions despite promises to the contrary. Officers will lead ministries of defense, security, territorial governance and national reconciliation, the government announced Monday evening. A total of 25 ministers were appointed; eleven of them are newcomers.
However, some army officers have been expelled from the new government. These include the previous Defense Minister Colonel Sadio Camara and Security Minister Colonel Modibo Koné. Both belonged to the military junta that overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August 2020. Keita was also arrested at the time and taken to Kati.
The US Embassy in Bamako issued a security warning that evening saying it had received “reports of increased military activity” in the city. Citizens were asked to “avoid unnecessary travel within the city”.
In the West African crisis state of Mali, the government was dissolved on 14 May. Interim President Bah N’Daw confirmed Prime Minister Moctar Ouane in office by decree and instructed him to form a new government.
The interim government in Mali had only replaced the military junta in January. Under pressure from the West African regional alliance Ecowas in particular, a transitional government was later formed under the leadership of ex-Defense Minister N’Daw. The new government must balance the interests of the military and civil society, reform the constitution and hold elections within 18 months.
The unstable crisis situation has been ravaged by Islamist terror groups for years. In 2013, only a massive French military operation held back their advance to the capital, Bamako. Some of these groups have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) or Al Qaeda. Foreign citizens are also repeatedly kidnapped. France is fighting terrorist groups in the vast Sahel region with about 5,100 soldiers.
A UN mission to stabilize the country is also in action in Mali, also involving Bundeswehr soldiers. Most of the Bundeswehr soldiers are stationed at Camp Castor in Gao in northern Mali as part of the UN force Minusma. In addition, as part of the EU training mission EUTM, German soldiers are present, usually in a field camp in Koulikoro, northeast of the capital.