Olivier Dubois appeals to French authorities “to do everything” in their power to free him from rebel fighters.
Mali’s interim government is set to form a new “broad-based” cabinet amid growing criticism of the army-dominated authorities in the Sahel state.
Prime Minister Moctar Ouane resigned on Friday but was immediately reappointed to carry out the reshuffle, transitional president Bah Ndaw said.
“The prime minister has just started consultations,” said an adviser to Ndaw who declined to be named. “He must form a broad-based government.”
Ouane was named prime minister after military officers in August removed the elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was under pressure for his handling of Mali’s armed unrest.
Under the threat of international sanctions, the military handed power to a caretaker government, which pledged to reform the constitution and stage elections within 18 months.
But figures with army links dominate this body, and there is growing anger about their prominent role and the slowness of reforms.
The opposition M5 movement last week called for the dissolution of the transitional government and demanded “a more law-abiding and more legitimate” body.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator for Mali, former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, also warned last week that there was little time left to complete the reforms.
Last month, Mali’s interim government announced that it would hold a constitutional referendum on October 31, with elections to follow in February next year.
But conflict and political disputes in the landlocked nation of 19 million people have left some doubting whether the authorities will stick to schedule.
Mali is struggling to quell a brutal conflict that first emerged in northern Mali in 2012, before spreading to the centre of the country as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
The country is also racked by civil society disputes. According to local press reports, the country’s largest union, UNTM, is threatening a four-day strike from next week over salary issues, among other things.