21 Jun 2024, 19:42

Junta opponents arrested in Mali after civilian rule call

BAMAKO, June 21, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Eleven opponents of Mali's ruling junta
were arrested as they met in the capital after calling for the return of
civilian rule in the West African nation, their coalition said Friday.

The military, which seized power in 2020, had promised to organise elections
and hand over power to civilians by the end of March this year but later
postponed elections indefinitely.

Those detained include the heads of parties and political movements which
signed a declaration in March calling for the handover of power to civilians,
it said in a statement sent to AFP.

They were arrested late Thursday as they took part in an illegal meeting when
political party activities are banned, a source in the legal investigation
unit said.

They are due to appear before a prosecutor on Friday, a judicial source said.

Their arrest took place during a "private meeting" at the home of a coalition
official, the grouping said.

It criticised what it said was yet another "violation of fundamental
freedoms" and denounced "these arbitrary arrests".

Signatories of the declaration dated March 31 had condemned the "legal and
institutional void" after a deadline passed for the junta to hand over power.

They called for presidential elections to be called "as soon as possible".

The colonels in Mali have kept a tight hold on power, suspending all party-
political activities and muzzling opponents, journalists and human rights

Mali has since 2012 been plunged into a political and security crisis fuelled
by attacks from jihadist and other armed groups, as well as a separatist
struggle in the north.



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