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Published: Monday February 24, 2014 MYT 10:00:02 PM
Updated: Monday February 24, 2014 MYT 10:01:06 PM

Mali finds five more bodies in graves near ex-junta base

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Malian authorities have found five corpses in army uniforms in two graves near the headquarter of a former military junta during part of an investigation into officers who briefly seized power in a coup in 2012.

The discovery brought to 30 the number of bodies dug from mass graves around the junta headquarters in Kati, about 20 km (15 miles) north of the capital Bamako. Mali's new government is trying to ascertain the fate of paratroopers who disappeared two years ago after the coup.

A justice ministry official told Reuters the five bodies, one of them a woman, were found on Sunday night.

"They had their hands tied behind them and were blindfolded," he said.

All were wearing army uniforms, a military source said.

General Amadou Sanogo, who led the coup in March 2012, was arrested and charged with complicity in kidnapping in November.

The government is under pressure to restore the state's authority over the army and to root out northern separatists and Islamist rebels who seized control of the northern two-thirds of the country in the wake of the coup.

General Yamoussa Camara, a former defence minister during the military rule, and three other senior junta officials were arrested last week in connection with the investigation, authorities said.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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