Modibo Sidibe was first arrested shortly after the coup and later released

Former Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe was picked up by men in military police vehicles, an aide said.

Ex-Defence Minister, Sadio Gassama, and chief of staff, General Hamidou Sissoko, have also been arrested.

Bamako-based journalist Martin Vogl says the arrests suggest Mali’s interim leader does not have total authority.

Dioncounda Traore – sworn in as interim president last week – has refused to comment on the arrests – while the European Union delegation in Mali has called for “an urgent clarification and their immediate release”.

The head of one of Mali’s biggest political parties, Soumaila Cisse, has also reportedly been detained.

Mr Cisse was a frontrunner in elections due this month but derailed by last month’s coup led by Capt Amadou Sanogo.

A top ranking policeman, Mahamadou Diagouraga, was also detained, the AP news agency reports.

All those arrested have reportedly been taken to Kati, the junta headquarters just outside the capital, Bamako.

Mr Sidibe, who served as Mr Toure’s prime minister from 2007 to 2011, was first arrested shortly after the coup and later released.

An MP from Mr Cisse’s URD party said that he had been wounded during his arrest but could not say how serious the injury is.

The arrests come as Mali’s interim prime minister is due to be announced.

Regional bloc Ecowas, the EU and the United States want to see the junta back in their barracks and out of politics as soon as possible.

After Ecowas imposed sanctions, the coup leaders agreed to step aside.

Mr Traore is tasked with organising elections and ending a rebellion in the north.

Since the coup, ethnic Tuareg and Islamist militants have taken control of much of the northern desert region.

The Tuaregs have declared independence for the region – a move resisted by the civilian and military authorities in Bamako, as well as the Islamist group Ansar Dine, which is said to have links to al-Qaeda’s North-West African franchise, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

On Sunday, unknown gunmen reportedly seized a Swiss woman from the historic northern town of Timbuktu, which is under rebel control.—BBC


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