Mali's rulers sought to restore calm yesterday after pro-junta soldiers stamped out a counter-coup bid by the presidential guard, sparking clashes in the capital that left at least 22 dead.
The head of the military junta that seized power on March 22, Capt Amadou Haya Sanogo, assured the situation was “under control” after an offensive described as an attempt on his life.
Gunfire erupted late on Monday at the national television and radio station, the airport and at Kati, the garrison town near the capital that is the junta’s headquarters.
The fighting, which continued on Tuesday, was initiated by presidential guardsmen loyal to ex-president Amadou Toumani Toure, who was ousted by Sanogo in the coup last month.
“I want to reassure the population. I am doing fine. The committee (junta) is doing fine,” Sanogo said in an interview late on Tuesday with the national television and radio station (ORTM).
He termed the clashes “an internal matter that was being managed,” and vowed the April 6 deal he signed with west African mediators restoring civilian rule remained in force.
Sanogo also claimed the objective of the assault was to “assassinate” him and fellow military chiefs, more so Ibrahim Dahirou Dembele.
The fighting claimed 22 lives, said hospital sources, who had previously put the toll at 14 dead and 40 injured.
Sporadic gunfire was heard in Bamako overnight Tuesday, but by yesterday morning calm had been restored. – AFP