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Mali coup leader Sanogo charged with kidnapping

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-29

General Amadou Sanogo, leader of the March 2012 coup that plunged Mali into chaos, was arrested on Wednesday and will face kidnapping charges, the Malian government said in a statement.

General Amadou Sanogo, who led the March 2012 coup that plunged Mali into chaos, has been arrested and will face charges of complicity in kidnapping, the Malian government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Investigating Judge Yaya Karembe ordered Sanogo's arrest and then charged him, just hours after several dozen Malian soldiers forcibly entered Sanogo's residence in central Bamako and seized him.

The former junta leader had repeatedly ignored a summons by the justice ministry.

Mali’s newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is under pressure to restore the state’s authority over both the army, which carried out last year’s coup, and the north, which was occupied by a mixture of Tuareg separatists and Islamist rebels until they were ousted with French backing earlier this year.

According to a source at the ministry of justice, the order to arrest Sanogo was given at the "highest level" of the state.

A Bamako-based diplomat said that Sanogo was also wanted for questioning over the deaths and disappearances of soldiers who tried to resist his coup last year.

Detained by force

An AFP journalist who witnessed Sanogo’s detention said several dozen Malian soldiers forcibly entered Sanogo’s residence in central Bamako, escorted him outside and drove him away.

“He was refusing to appear before the judge. So we came to carry out a warrant for his transferral,” one of the soldiers said.

Sanogo last year led a group of mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Touré, upending what had been considered one of West Africa’s flagship democracies.

The coup precipitated the fall of northern Mali to militants linked to al Qaeda, but an intervention by French and African troops launched in January eventually chased the rebels from the region’s main cities.

In May last year, Sanogo and his former junta were granted a general amnesty and the captain received the status of former head of state, with all the accompanying benefits.That status was later withdrawn, but Sanogo then leapt from the rank of captain to general in August after the presidential election.

Human Rights Watch described his promotion as a “shameful act" and argued that the former captain should have been investigated for alleged involvement in torture.

Last month Sanogo left the army barracks where he had been living to move into a new residence in the capital.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

Date created : 2013-11-27

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