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Mali Arrests Ex-Defense Chief over Paratrooper Killings

Authorities in Mali have arrested the country's former defense minister, General Yamoussa Camara, in connection with the killings of 21 paratroopers loyal to ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure.

Details of the charges were not immediately clear Thursday. But Reuters news agency quotes a senior military official alleging that Camara tried to cover up the April 2012 killings.

Authorities arrested Mali's former junta leader General Amadou Sanogo last November and charged him with murder and assassination in connection with the deaths. Sanogo led the March 2012 coup that toppled former president Toure.

The bodies of the missing "Red Beret" soldiers were found late last year in a mass grave near the capital, Bamako. Authorities say they were killed during a counter-coup attempt one month after the rebellion was launched.



After seizing power, Sanogo named Camara defense minister, a post he held until Sanogo handed power last year to a transitional government. Under the transition agreement, Camara then served as a senior adviser to the interim presidency.

The 2012 coup caused instability in Mali and allowed al-Qaida-linked Islamists to seize the country's north. The militants were driven from major Malian cities during a French-led intervention in 2013.

Efforts are now under way to re-establish order under newly-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

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