Ivory Coast calls for release of its soldiers detained in Mali.

Ivory Coast has called on Mali to release forty-nine of its soldiers “unjustly” detained at Bamako airport and accused by officials there of being mercenaries.

A statement from the Ivorian president’s office after an emergency meeting of the National Security Council says none of the Ivorian soldiers detained were carrying weapons of war.

Mali on Monday had said the troops from the Ivory Coast were armed and “mercenaries”, having detained them on arrival.

However, Ivorian authorities have insisted the soldiers had arrived to join MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping force in Mali.