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Mali arrests dozens after disgruntled soldiers' protest

06 октября 2013, 17:16
Around 30 Malian soldiers suspected of involvement in protests that left one wounded earlier this week have been arrested and turned over to paramilitary police, an army spokesman told AFP on Friday.

On Monday, dozens of disgruntled soldiers involved in the 2012 coup had fired guns in the air at a protest, wounding and taking hostage a close aide of last year's mutiny leader Amadou Sanogo, according to military sources.

The soldiers, based in the garrison town of Kati, near the capital Bamako, were unhappy at not having been promoted alongside colleagues also involved in ousting the president in March last year.

On Friday, army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Souleymane Maiga said around 30 soldiers were arrested in an operation to "eradicate without violence those elements implicated in the Kati incidents".

"They violated state security and are behind the Kati uprising," he said.

Among those detained are two members of the former military junta, captain Amadou Konare and colonel Youssouf Traore, said Maiga.

Sanogo led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22 last year, upending what had been considered one of west Africa's flagship democracies.

The mutiny precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda but a military intervention by French and African troops in January chased the rebels from the region's main cities.

Mali was governed by a transitional administration following the coup until elections saw Ibrahim Boubacar Keita sworn in as the new president in September.

Since August, several authors of the coup or their relatives have been handed promotions, including Sanogo who was elevated from captain to lieutenant-general and lives and works in Kati.

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