ruling junta says it foiled coup attempt

No information had filtered on an attempted coup that would have occurred last week in Mali, until the release, Monday, May 16, of a press release from the so-called transitional government installed by the military.

“With the unhealthy intention of breaking the dynamic of rebuilding Mali, a small group of anti-progressive Malian officers and non-commissioned officers attempted a coup on the night of May 11 to 12, 2022”said the press release, read in the evening on state television.

“These soldiers were supported by a Western state”he adds without further details. “The attempt was foiled thanks to the vigilance and professionalism of the defense and security forces”, he continues, adding that those arrested will be brought to justice. But the document does not mention their identity or the place of their detention.

A military official speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the subject, spoke of a dozen arrests made, and informs that others were in progress.

“All necessary means” are mobilized for the investigation and the search for accomplices, says the official press release. The government ensures “that the situation is under control and invites the populations to calm down”. According to the text, controls have been reinforced at the exits from the capital Bamako and at the borders.

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Two coups between 2020 and 2021

Mali, plunged into deep security and political crises since the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in 2012 in the North, was the scene of two coups led by the same group of colonels in August 2020 and May 2021. The country is now ruled by a junta that has turned away from France and its partners, and has turned to Russia in an attempt to stem the spread of jihadism that has spread to the center and neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. .

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The junta, faced with sanctions imposed by the organization of West African states Cédéao, hammers a patriotic and sovereignist discourse, in the face of which opponents are struggling to be heard. The military under the leadership of Colonel Assimi Goïta renounced their initial commitment to return power to civilians after elections scheduled for February 2022.

Colonel Goïta, invested transitional president in June 2021, had been targeted the following July by the attack of a man who had tried to stab him. He had escaped unscathed. His attacker died a few days later. The authorities had invoked a deterioration in his state of health during the investigations, without further details. No information has been made public since then on the progress of the investigation.

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The World with AFP