Military officers in Mali on Monday arrested the president, prime minister and defense minister of the country's interim government, and have taken them to a military base outside the capital Bamako.
The arrests of Bah N'Daw, Mali's president; Moctar Ouane, the prime minister; and Souleymane Doucourecame, the defense minister; came shortly after the president announced a cabinet reshuffle.
While reacting to the news, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, raised his concerns about the situation in Mali and called for a speedy resolution to the impasse.
"I am deeply concerned by news of detention of civilian leaders of the Malian transition. I call for calm and their unconditional release. My special representative is working closely with the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and all other international actors supporting the ongoing political transition," Guterres said in a statement.
In a similar statement, the United Nations Mission in Mali called for calm while demanding the unconditional release of the arrested leaders.
"We are closely monitoring events and remain committed to supporting the transition. We call for calm and demand the immediate and unconditional release of the president and the prime minister. Those who hold them will have to answer for their actions," the mission said in the statement.
The arrested leaders came to power after a military coup in August last year overthrew former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. N'Daw and Ouane have been leading a transition back to civilian rule after the takeover, but many inside the government and the opposition worried about the military's hold over key positions.