Mali Arrest of General Signals Progress, Human Rights Watch Says

The arrest of Malian General Amadou Sanogo, who led the 2012 coup, is “concrete progress” toward ending violence and impunity in the West African nation, Human Rights Watch said.

The judge showed “considerable courage and independence in questioning and bringing charges against such a powerful figure,” Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at the New York-based rights group, said in an e-mailed note.

Sanogo was arrested yesterday on a charge of complicity with kidnapping in the capital, Bamako, Mahamane Baby, a government spokesman, said on state-run broadcaster ORTM yesterday. Mali’s previous government promoted Sanogo to the rank of army general a day before the results of August presidential elections were announced.

A judge summoned Sanogo earlier this month as part of an investigation into the disappearance of soldiers loyal to ex-President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was ousted by troops in a March 2012 coup. Sanogo handed power to an interim government in April 2012. Former Prime Minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was elected president in August.

The removal of Toure left a power vacuum that allowed Touareg separatists and Islamists to take control of the north of the country before France deployed jet fighters and ground troops to push out the rebels in January.

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