WASHINGTON

The UN Security Council strongly condemned a military “mutiny” Wednesday in Mali that has led to the detention of senior government officials and their families. 

The council’s members “urged those mutineers to release safely and immediately all the officials detained and to return to their barracks without delay,” and called on Mali’s stakeholders to exercise restraint and prioritize dialogue to end the ongoing crisis.

The African Union suspended Mali’s membership Wednesday after soldiers ousted the president and his government the previous day. The decision to oust Mali will remain in effect until the restoration of constitutional order in the West African nation, it said.

It also demanded President Boubacar Keita and other senior officials be released.

Local heavyweight Nigeria condemned the coup and demanded an immediate “restoration of constitutional order.”

Keita announced his resignation Tuesday after being detained by soldiers. Prime Minister Boubou Cisse was also detained.

Tensions erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a rebellion by Tuareg separatists that ultimately allowed al-Qaeda-linked militant groups to take control of the northern half of the country.

Keita, 75, came to power in 2013 but has been criticized by some who say he has failed to protect them from terrorist attacks mostly in the northern and central part of the country.

Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world, suffers from the presence of several terror groups, despite the presence of French, Malian and UN peacekeepers who carry out counter-terrorism operations.

A 2015 peace agreement between the government and Tuareg rebel groups could not be implemented.

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