Dakar, Senegal: Three women among the 49 Ivorian soldiers held in Mali accused of being mercenaries in an ongoing dispute between the two countries have been released, two diplomats told Agence France-Presse Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

"I give you the good news: As a humanitarian gesture, Mali has released the three women from the contingent of 49 Ivorian soldiers", a Malian diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

A Togolese diplomat also confirmed the news.

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe has been acting as a mediator in the dispute, which since July has fuelled tensions between Bamako and Abidjan.

The soldiers were arrested after their arrival at Bamako airport on July 10.

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Ivory Coast says they were sent on a routine rotation for personnel who provide back-up services for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, and has called for their release.

Mali's military-led government says the troops had had no orders or supporting documents and has described them as "mercenaries".

In mid-August, Malian prosecutors filed charges against all 49, including for alleged conspiracy and harm to state security.