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Media in Mali Protest Journalist’s Arrest With National Strike

Journalists working for closely held media in Mali went on a nationwide strike today to demand the release of an editor who was arrested by the army last week.

Boucary Daou, manager of Le Republicain, a daily newspaper, was detained on March 6 for publishing a letter criticizing Captain Amadou Sanogo, the leader of last year’s military coup, according to an e-mailed statement from Maison de la Presse, a media organization based in Bamako, the capital.

Daou’s detention comes after a series of arbitrary arrests and beatings of journalists in the impoverished West African nation since the March 2012 coup and the takeover of northern Mali by Islamist insurgents, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. A radio broadcaster in the central town of Niono was attacked with a knife earlier this month, the group said in a statement yesterday.

The letter in Le Republicain was signed by officers in the Malian army saying it’s unfair Sanogo will receive a monthly salary of at least 4 million CFA francs ($7,900) as head of a military committee in charge of defense reform, according to Maison de la Presse. Sanogo, who ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure in the coup, was appointed to the position last month.

Army spokesman Modibo Traore didn’t answer a call made to his mobile phone today.

France intervened in Mali on Jan. 11 to help the interim government restore state control over the north, which was run by Islamist rebels seeking to impose Shariah law in the country.

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