Mali seizes Ivorian soldiers amid coup plot claims

Source: BBC

Forty-nine Ivorian soldiers said to have been joining a contingent of the UN Mission in Mali (Minusma) were arrested in Bamako on Sunday, amid speculation of a coup attempt, Malian media reported.

The arrested soldiers reportedly did not have the UN mission authorisation and were “all all brought in two minibuses and then transported around 2000hrs inside the airport”, aBamako website reported

“The airport is currently placed under tight surveillance by several soldiers of the security forces,” the website added.

Maliactu website said in a Facebook post that the soldiers “were not carrying weapons” but “had luggage in the care of Minusma”.

Malijet website said that Malian special forces were deployed to secure the airport after the Ivorian soldiers failed to present their mission orders.

Social media users alleged that the Ivorian soldiers were linked to an attempted coup against Mali’s military-led government.

The allegations are likely to worsen tensions between Mali’s junta and Minusma, whose mandate was recently renewed for another year.

They also coincide with the launch of a campaign by a prominent anti-France activist group seeking expulsion of the UN force.

Public hostility towards Minusma and militant attacks against peacekeepers have risen in recent weeks.

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