Mali’s former interim president and PM released from house arrest

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Mali’s former interim president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane have been released from house arrest by the authorities who ousted them in May, a committee monitoring the post-coup transition said on Friday.

Their detention by military officers in May marked Mali’s second coup since the overthrow of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita the previous August.

The political upheaval alarmed regional powers and allies such as France, who feared it could delay a promised return to civilian rule via democratic elections scheduled for February 2022.

An international body tracking this political transition has been pushing the current interim authorities to release the two from house arrest.

The committee, which includes representatives of West African regional bloc ECOWAS and the African Union, said in a statement that it welcomed a decision to lift these restrictions.

“The committee reaffirms its support for the process of transition in Mali,” it said.

A representative of the Malian authorities did not reply to a request for comment.