The international community condemns the kidnapping of

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Mali plunged back into crisis on Monday after the military arrested the country’s president, prime minister and defense minister after a government reshuffle earlier in the day, which sparked widespread international condemnation and calls for immediate release.

The arrests sparked fears of a second coup as President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane lead a caretaker government that was installed following a coup in August under the threat of regional sanctions.

Coup leaders and army officers exercised significant influence over the government, but doubted a promise to hold elections early next year. Two senior officials, who refused to be named, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that soldiers had taken Ndaw and Ouane to the Kati military camp on the outskirts of the capital Bamako.

Their detentions followed a sensitive government reshuffle on Monday afternoon, which was designed to respond to growing criticism of the interim government. The military retained the strategic portfolios it controlled during the previous administration in the shift. But two coup leaders – former Defense Minister Sadio Camara and former Security Minister Colonel Modibo Kone – were replaced.

The change also came at a time of growing political challenges in the capital Bamako and pressure to stick to the deadline for promised reforms. Unconfirmed rumors of a potential coup swirled around Bamako on Monday night, but the city remained relatively calm.

Prime Minister Ouane, who was reached by telephone shortly before the line was cut, told AFP that soldiers “came to pick him up.”

A joint statement signed by the United Nations, the African Union (AU), the best regional decision-making body of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom on Monday condemned the arrest of politicians demanding their “immediate and unconditional freedom.” It rejected “any act imposed by force, including forced departures.”

“What happened was serious and serious and we are ready to consider the necessary measures,” European Council President Charles Michel said after a summit with the 27 EU leaders on Monday. The statement added that the bloc was “ready to consider targeted actions against political and military leaders that hinder Malia’s transition.”

The UN’s multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (Minusma) said on Twitter that “we are following events closely and remain committed to supporting the transition. We demand calm and demand the immediate and unconditional release of the President and the Prime Minister. Those who hold them will be held accountable. They must ensure the well-being of the detainees. “Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Bamako said it had received” reports of increased military activity in Bamako “and called on Americans in Bamako to restrict their movements.

Malian officers were also outraged at the detention of the country’s leaders. A military official in Kati condemned the country’s civilian leadership.

“What they have done is not good,” the source told the Guardian, referring to the government. “We will notify them, a decision will be made.”

‘Send a message’

Young military officials fired President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 18 after weeks of protests over perceived government corruption and his handling of Mali’s extremist insurgency. After the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS threatened sanctions, the military junta handed over power to a caretaker government that promised to reform the constitution and hold elections within 18 months.

Coup leader Assimi Goita was appointed Vice President of the Guard Administration, and the interim president, Bah Ndaw, is a retired army officer.

Many have questioned whether the military-dominated government has the will or the ability to implement reforms in a short time. Among other problems, the great nation faces a major logistics and security challenge, as the territories are in the hands of extremists.

Doubts remained despite the interim government last month promising to hold a constitutional referendum on October 31, with elections to follow in February next year. On May 14, in growing anger, the government said it would appoint a new “broad-based” cabinet.

An official at Mali’s interim presidency, who requested anonymity, said the exchange was designed to send a message that “respect for the deadline for the transition remains a priority.” He also stressed the need to replace the Ministers of Defense and Security.

“They are not emblematic figures of the junta,” the official said, referring to the newly appointed ministers.

In an example of growing concern, the opposition M5 movement – which led protests against Keita 2020 – this month called for the dissolution of the interim government and demanded a “more legitimate” body. But the M5 is divided.

For example, two members of the Union for the Republic and Democracy Party were appointed interim ministers on Monday. The lot is part of the M5. Civil disputes in Mali are also increasing the pressure created by political strife. The country’s largest union, UNTM, called for a second week of strikes on Monday after wage negotiations with the caretaker government collapsed.

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