Reports of military coup in Mali as gunshots heard at base near capital
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 18 August 2020 2:57 PM
Gunfire has reportedly been heard at a military base outside of Mali's capital of Bamako, sparking fears of a possible coup in the conflict-torn country.
Local residents and security sources on Tuesday said soldiers fired gunshots into the air at the army base in Kati, a town 15 kilometers from Bamako, and that an unspecified number of high-ranking military and political figures were taken into custody following the incident.
Reuters quoted an unnamed security official as saying, "Yes, mutiny. The military has taken up arms."
Social media posts showed blocks set up by the army on roads leading to the town.
The Norwegian Embassy in Mali was quick to react to the alleged coup, saying, "The embassy has been notified of a mutiny in the Armed Forces and troops are on their way to Bamako. Norwegians should exercise caution and preferably stay at home until the situation is clear."
The French Embassy in the African country also called on French citizens to stay inside their houses.
Bamako was the scene of a mutiny in 2012 that led to a coup d'etat and the ouster of the then-President Amadou Toumani Toure. The coup later contributed to the fall of northern Mali into the hands of Takfiri militants.
Mali has been beset by nationwide demonstrations against incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita since June, with protesters calling for his resignation over what they see as the government's failure to restore security and deal with corruption.
United Nations and human rights activists say at least 14 people lost their lives in the recent anti-government protests.
Mali's neighbors have expressed concern about prolonged unrest.
Mali is already fighting widespread militancy. Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict, while many more have been forced to flee their homes.
The conflict has spilled over to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
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