Monday, 30 April 2012

Mali junta claims control of Bamako after fighting

Mali's coup leaders have said they are in control of the situation in Bamako, after hours of fighting in the capital.
In a message on TV, they said they held the state broadcasting building, the airport and army barracks after a counter-coup attempt by loyalists of ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure.


However, reports say heavy gunfire continued in the city. Several people are believed to have been killed.
The junta handed power to an interim government after the March coup.
But the junta - led by Cpt Amadou Sanago - is still thought to wield considerable influence in the West African country.
Deserted streets In the TV message broadcast early on Tuesday, the coup leaders said the situation was under control after the clashes with members of presidential guard.
Members of the "Red Berets" presidential guards unit earlier reportedly entered the broadcaster's building, which had been controlled by pro-junta forces since the coup.
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"These are elements of the presidential guard from the old regime and they're trying to turn things around," junta spokesman Bacary Mariko told the Reuters news agency.
He later said the airport in Bamako had come under attack from anti-coup forces, and that he was expecting an attack on a pro-coup base in Kati, north of Bamako.
The gunfire followed an attempt by junta loyalists to arrest the former head of the presidential guard, journalist Martin Vogl in Bamako told the BBC.
One eyewitness told the Reuters news agency that the streets of Bamako were deserted. Electricity has been cut in several part of the city.
The 22 March coup, which ousted President Toure, was led by soldiers who accused Mr Toure of failing to combat an insurgency in the north.
Last week, Cpt Amadou Sanago rejected the decision of West African regional bloc Ecowas to send troops to Mali.

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