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Mali blogger who declared himself ‘president’ released

BAMAKO (AFP) – A blogger in the north of Mali who proclaimed himself president in a satirical post on social media was arrested and held for 24 hours before being released on Wednesday.

“I have decided to officially announce myself as president of the civilian transition starting from tomorrow, February 28,” Tandina Elhadj Beyt’allah said, wearing a scarf in the Malian colours in a video posted online on Sunday.

He ruminated on the gravity of the situation facing Mali as well as the “lack of vision of our authorities”.

At the end of the two minute clip, he stressed that it was “just a joke”, laughing as he said “don’t send the police after me”. They did just that.

Beyt’allah, who enjoys a prolific online following, was arrested on Tuesday, with a Timbuktu police officer saying he was held while investigations were undertaken.

The blogger said on Wednesday on his Facebook page that he had been released.

Another resident of Timbuktu was arrested after saying online that he was ready to serve as Beyt’allah’s prime minister, the officer added.


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