Shooting in Mali Capital as Junta Hunts Opponents

Posted May 2nd, 2012 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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Gunfire erupted Wednesday in Mali's capital, Bamako, as troops who toppled the country's president search for those responsible for an attempted counter-coup earlier this week.

Junta troops on Wednesday emptied buildings across the city as they looked for fighters loyal to ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure.

Shooting was heard outside of the state broadcaster, although no fighting was reported at the scene.

At least 22 people were killed in clashes which started late Monday when soldiers from the presidential guard attempted to take control of strategic sites across the capital.

Amadou Sanogo, head of the March 22 coup that ousted Mr. Toure, said in a televised statement Tuesday that the situation was under control and that the transitional civilian government, put in place after an agreement with neighboring countries, remains unchanged.

“The prime minister stays in place in accordance with the agreement, the president of the republic stays in place in accordance with the agreement, then the government remains and the national assembly remains. It has nothing to do (with the counter-coup attempt). It was an internal problem that we are managing and I think that the government will come back on this with more details.”

Malian politician Niankoro Yeah Samake, leader of the Party for Patriotic and Civic Action, told VOA he is “very disheartened” by what has happened in Mali and called on elements of the military to unite and focus on the needs of the country.

“We call on, first of all, the president of the junta, Captain Amadou Haya [Sanogo], to be the leader of the army, to bring people together as we are working hard with the international community and also the political leaders and civil society in Mali to build a just society to restore democracy for the benefit of the people of Mali.”

Renegade officers who overthrew Mr. Toure accused him of failing to properly equip the army to handle a Tuareg rebellion in the north.

The new military government, under pressure from the regional bloc, ECOWAS, later agreed to form a civilian transitional government to organize new elections.