Mali’s interim leaders arrested in the second military

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Mali will form a new government after the country’s interim president and prime minister’s resignation as part of a mediation effort on Wednesday, after they were arrested in a blatant second military coup in nine months, a top aide said.

President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, tasked with directing the return to civilian rule after a coup last August, had been held since Monday and resigned “before the mediator,” said Baba Cisse, special adviser to junata boss Assimi Goita.

Cisse said negotiations are under way for their liberation and the formation of a new government in the poor Sahel country.

A member of the ECOWAS mediation mission Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) confirmed the president’s resignation to Agence France-Presse (AFP) and demanded anonymity.

The team traveled early Wednesday to the Kati military camp about 15 kilometers from the capital Bamako to visit the two prisoners.

Ndaw and Ouane had been head of the interim government with the stated goal of restoring full civilian rule within 18 months.

Goita, who holds the rank of vice president of the transitional government, accused Ndaw and Ouane of not consulting him about a change. The UN Security Council would hold an emergency meeting later on Wednesday at the request of former colonial power France and others.

On Monday, the United Nations, the African Union, ECOWAS, the European Union and the United States issued a rare joint statement calling for the detention and demanding the release of Ndaw and Ouane.

Young military officers fired President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August last week after demonstrations over perceived corruption in the government and his handling of the terrorist uprising.

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