Interim President of Mali - Bah Ndaw, Image Source - edition.cnn.com
President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and Defense minister Souleymane Doucoure were all arrested by the Soldiers in Mali, hours after two members of the military lost their positions in a government reshuffle, the diplomatic and government sources said. Their detentions followed the military ouster in August of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The development could exacerbate instability in the West African country where violent Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State control large areas of the desert north.
The military's ultimate goal was not immediately clear. One military official in Kati said this was not an arrest.
"What they have done is not good," the source said, referring to the cabinet reshuffle. "We are letting them know, decisions will be made."
The United Nations' mission in Mali stated:
"They demand the immediate and unconditional release of those authorities and insist upon the fact that the members of the military who hold them will be personally held accountable for their safety."
A delegation from the top regional decision-making body ECOWAS will visit Bamako on Tuesday to help resolve the "attempted coup", ECOWAS, the U.N., African Union, European Union and several European countries said in a joint statement.
Kati's military base is notorious for ending the rule of Malian leaders. Last August, the military took President Keita to Kati and forced him to resign. A mutiny there helped topple his predecessor Amadou Toumani Toure in 2012. Mali has been in turmoil ever since. Toure's departure triggered an ethnic Tuareg rebellion to seize the northern two-thirds of the country, which was hijacked by al Qaeda-linked jihadists.
There had appeared to be some cause for optimism. The transitional government said last month that it would hold legislative and presidential elections in Feb. 2022 to restore a democratic government.