Diarra and Tiemoko Diallo
BAMAKO (Reuters) – Heavy gunfire erupted near Mali’s state television in Bamako on Tuesday
on the second day of fighting between forces from the ruling junta and soldiers believed to be loyal to ousted President
Amadou Toumani Toure, witnesses said.
Shooting cracked out from the direction of the television building, Reuters witnesses said, and
people were fleeing the area along the road to the building.
“We were on our way there, but were told there is
fighting going on around the ORTM (state television) and we were told to go back,” one witness said. Another witness said
there was also shooting in other parts of the city.
The military junta said the fighting, which broke out late on
Monday, was an attempt to reverse a March 22 coup that ousted Toure, adding that there was evidence that foreign fighters
were backing the effort.
The coup, which derailed April elections meant to replace Toure and which came in the midst
of a rebellion in Mali’s desert north, has been internationally condemned, and West African regional bloc ECOWAS has said it
plans to deploy a force to oversee a transition back to democratic rule.
Speaking to a local radio station overnight,
junta chief Captain Amadou Sanogo said the fighting broke out after he had sent some units to the presidential guard barracks
to tell them that Malian forces should remain united.
“During the exchange between my guys and the paratroopers, some
of them decided to battle us once and for all,” he said.
“They tried to seize Kati (army base), take control of the
radio and television and the airport. But we had been prepared. We managed to kill some and captured others. Among the
captives there are foreign troops that we’ll show on TV.”
Djibril Bassole, Burkina Faso’s foreign minister and a
leading mediator in the Malian crisis for West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc, said the bloc had sent no troops to Mali
“ECOWAS has not sent any troops on the ground. No decision has been taken in that light,” Bassole told Reuters by
telephone from the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou.
Bassole said planned talks in Ouagadougou between the junta and
ECOWAS mediators on Tuesday had been cancelled because a plane sent the previous day to collect members of the junta for the
meeting had not been allowed to land in Bamako.
“As ECOWAS mediators, we are still available to continue the dialogue,
which will help Mali normalise its political institutions and bring the army to submit itself under the authority of a
civilian government,” Bassole said.
The director of Bamako’s airport told Reuters early on Tuesday that the airport
was shut due to the fighting.
The junta said in a recorded statement, played repeatedly on state television, that it
remained in control of the state broadcaster, the airport and the Kati base – which has been the headquarters of the junta
“These locations have been secured and are in the hands of the security forces,” the statement, read by
Lieutenant Mohamed Issa Ouedraogo, a junta spokesman, said.
The renewed fighting could be a setback for the
gold-producing West African nation after the junta had agreed to an interim government as a first step to restoring
constitutional order after the coup.
Latest posts by Yoopya (see all)
- Apple enters 5G race with new iPhone 12 range - October 14, 2020
- Ethicists say Trump special treatment raises fairness issues - October 7, 2020
- 2 guilty of supporting deadly Westgate mall attack in Kenya - October 7, 2020