Mali releases 3 Ivorian soldiers, 46 still in captivity
Three women, who were among 49 Ivorian soldiers detained in Mali, were released on Saturday, state television said, around seven weeks since the arrest of the troops sparked a diplomatic spat between the West African neighbours.
The soldiers were detained at the Malian capital Bamako's international airport on July 10. Mali's junta said they had flown in without permission and were seen as mercenaries.
Togo has been mediating the crisis between Mali and Côte d'Ivoire, while now discussions are focused on the release of the remaining detained 46 soldiers.
According to Malian authorities, the Ivorian soldiers are accused of being mercenaries while Ivorian authorities claim they were on a mission to support UN forces in Mali.
Ivorian authorities have promised to follow Malian and UN rules relative to the deployment of military forces in the country.
Mali has also accused Abidjan of inciting west African countries to harden sanctions against Malian soldiers behind two coups since 2020.