There are also foreign soldiers in Mali, including Czech ones, who help fight radical Islamists there. Vlastimila Cyprisová from the press department of the General Staff of the Czech Army said that the Czech soldiers were fine.
“We can tell you that the president and prime minister are in our hands. We detained them in the (president’s) house, “said the soldier, who did not want to be named. The two politicians are in an armored car on their way to the town of Kati, where the military base is located and where a military uprising broke out in the morning, another army source from the rebel camp announced.
“Army officers are being arrested. It’s total confusion, “the AP quoted an official from the Malia Ministry of Homeland Security anonymously after the riots broke out in Kati. According to witnesses, there are armored cars and tanks in the streets of the city, which lies about 15 kilometers from the metropolis of Bamako.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke to representatives of Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal on Tuesday about the situation in Mali, fully supported these states in their efforts to mediate talks with both sides of the conflict. According to the presidential office, France is monitoring the situation and condemning any coup attempts. The French embassy warned residents of Bamako and Kati not to leave the houses.
Rumors of the arrest of the head of state have brought hundreds of protesters to the streets of Bamako, expressing support for the rebels. They criticize the government for corruption, the country’s poor economic situation and its inability to control Islamic radicals. According to the AP, the protesters set fire to a house belonging to the Malaysian Minister of Justice.
At least one ministry and the ORTM state television building have previously been evacuated in Bamako. There was gunfire in the streets. According to a witness quoted by Reuters, armed men in the metropolis also closed two bridges over the river.
In an effort to end the political crisis in Mali, five African presidents went to the country last month to push for the formation of a national union government. However, a protest movement led by a conservative cleric rejected the proposal.
This is not the first rebellion
Tuesday’s events, according to the AP, are reminiscent of the March 2012 uprising, which also broke out in Kata and turned into a military coup that overthrew the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré. The coup was preceded by an uprising of indigenous Tuaregs, who then controlled the area in the north of the country.
A few weeks after the coup, Touré resigned in exchange for lifting international sanctions and handed over leadership to a caretaker government headed by the then head of parliament. In the next election, the current President Keita was elected head of the country with a clear majority. However, according to the opposition, his re-election in 2018 was accompanied by irregularities.
The latest anti-government protests in Mali erupted after the spring parliamentary elections, in which Keito’s party won and which the opposition also questioned. In an effort to calm the situation, the president dissolved the constitutional court in July, as demanded by the opposition, and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé later offered the M5-RPF opposition movement participation in the government of national unity.