Mali counter-coup arrests made

2012-07-29 10:29

Bamako - An army officer and a religious leader have been arrested by armed men in Bamako as part of an investigation into an attempted counter coup, family members said on Saturday.

"We have not heard any news. We are very worried," said Aly Ouattara, a relative of detained soldier lieutenant Mohamed Yaya Ouattara. He was arrested on Thursday.

A member of religious leader Amadou Dembelle's family, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dembelle had called relatives after his arrest to confirm that it was in connection with the attempted counter coup.

On 30 April and 1 May, paratroopers loyal to ousted leader Amadou Toumani Toure attempted a counter-coup against the junta which had seized power on 22 March.

Human Rights Watch said last week that at least 20 soldiers loyal to Mali's ousted government had disappeared at the hands of troops backing the March coup and were feared dead.

The security forces of Captain Amadou Sanogo, who led the 22 March coup, have been accused by Human Rights Watch of a campaign of intimidation against journalists, family members of detained soldiers, and others deemed a threat.

The counter-coup bid by elite red-beret paratroopers who formed part of Toure's presidential guard was stamped out by the putschists who rounded up about 80 people believed to have been involved, mostly soldiers.