Mali’s president and prime minister have been ousted by the officer who led last year’s coup and became vice-president of an interim government.
Col Assimi Goïta says President Bah Ndaw and PM Moctar Ouane failed in their duties and were seeking to sabotage the country’s transition.
They were arrested hours after a government reshuffle which saw two senior army officers replaced.
Col Goïta says elections will still go ahead next year as planned.
But he ignored pleas from the UN chief, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, the EU and the US that the president and prime minister be released without any preconditions.
The two men have been held at a military camp outside the capital, Bamako, since they were arrested on Monday evening.
Col Goïta says he was not consulted about the cabinet reshuffle, which he says he should have been as vice-president.
After last year’s coup, the junta leader had sought to lead the interim government, which is overseeing an 18-month transition to civilian rule.
However, the regional body ECOWAS, which mediated the transition deal, insisted on a civilian leader.
Yet Col Goïta clearly remains the real power broker in the unstable West African nation.
His removal of Ibrahim Boubaca Keïta as president last year was generally celebrated.
It had followed weeks of anti-government protests over rising insecurity, alleged corruption and a failing economy.
But the slow pace of change over the last nine months has been causing tensions.
An ongoing strike by the main union is in its second week and threatens to cripple the economy.
The interim government agreed to appoint a new broader-based cabinet in the face of these problems and the threat of renewed protests.
Col Goïta is not the only person to be upset by the reshuffle – the opposition group behind the protests last year, M5 RFP, was also infuriated that it did not get rewarded with any ministerial positions. A delegation from ECOWAS is expected in Bamako, the country’s capital.
Now that Col Goïta has effectively torn up that agreement by taking charge, it is not clear what the repercussions will be.
He has asked people to go about their business as usual and promises the military is committed to the transitional deal. BBC