Mali’s interim president and prime minister have been released, a military official said on Thursday.
His release met major demands from the international community, but lacked other calls for an immediate return to civilian government.
“The interim president and prime minister were released at 30:00 GMT. We were true to our word,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Family members confirmed that President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Mokta Ouane had been released.
The two men have returned to their homes in the capital, Bamako, according to people close to them, although the circumstances of their release were unclear.
Revolutionary leaders were tasked with returning to civilian rule after defeating Mali’s president-elect, Ibrahim Bobbaker Keita, in a coup last August.
The boy was forcibly removed by young army officers after widespread protests over corruption and the failure to stop the bloody jihadist insurgency.
But in a move to provoke widespread diplomacy, Andrew and Owen were arrested on Monday by army officials who were dissatisfied with the change of government.
The two were stationed at a military camp about 11 kilometers (nine miles) from Bamako.
– Military influence –
The Interim Government, established under the threat of regional sanctions, has announced that it will restore full civilian rule within 18 months.
But its appointment was heavily influenced by the military.
Colonel Asimi Goita, who was the president of the pro-government junta, was nominated vice president and other key posts were given to army officers.
On Tuesday, Goita said Endeau and Owen relinquished their power.
The next day, as diplomatic pressure mounted, the couple resigned in the presence of mediators.
The United Nations Security Council, in an emergency meeting at the request of former colonial powers France and others, called for their “safe, immediate and unconditional release” and for the restoration of civilian leadership.
But Goita told the mediators that he himself wanted to lead a transitional government and name the prime minister, the diplomat said.
The Security Council requested that in addition to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s ongoing inspections in Iran, that it monitor Iran’s compliance with “the steps required by the IAEA Board”.
In contrast, French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country has pledged more than 1,000 troops to fight jihadism in the Sahel, said the two arrests were an “unacceptable blow.”
France, the United States and the regional group Ecovas have also warned of sanctions and suspended US aid to the Malaysian armed forces.
Since the start of the jihadist uprising in northern Mali in 2012, it has spread to the center of the country and then to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
Mali is the world’s poorest and its armed forces suffer from a lack of equipment and training. They are backed by UN and French forces, as well as joint forces from four other Shell countries.
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