News24

Ex-Mali leader at Senegal embassy – Sall

2012-04-19 08:50

Paris - Mali's ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure is currently at the residence of Senegal's ambassador to Bamako, Senegalese President Macky Sall said in Paris on Wednesday.

"President Amadou Toumani Toure [is] at this moment on the territory of the residence of the embassy of Senegal in Bamako," Sall said during a press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sall also raised concerns over arrests by the military of officials including ex-prime minister Modibo Sidibe and Soumaila Cisse, a former minister who led the West African Economic and Monetary Union until last November.

"The diplomatic efforts by [West African economic group] Ecowas supported by our European partners, including France, allowed for a return to normal constitutional life" in Mali, Sall said.

"Unfortunately last night [Tuesday] there were new developments with the arrests of certain dignitaries... and others who were arrested, who we hope will be immediately freed," he said.

"This is a troubling situation," Sall said, adding that West African leaders were "trying to find a rapid and peaceful solution first of all internally so we can return to the normal constitutional regime and then deal with the partition of Mali."

Overthrown in a 22 March military coup, Toure resigned on 08 April, opening the way for the soldiers to hand power back to a civilian authority.

The low-ranking army officers who staged the putsch justified their action by denouncing the government's ineffective resistance to a Tuareg rebellion, which was rekindled in January.

The coup prompted the rebels, joined by Islamists, to capture an area roughly the size of France, including the ancient town of Timbuktu.

The main Tuareg rebel group Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) then declared an independent state, drawing international condemnation.