Troop Mutiny Has 'Morphed Into a Coup'

Soldiers seize Mali's president, PM
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2020 5:01 PM CDT
Soldiers Seize Mali President
A man wears a national flag as he celebrates with others in the streets in the capital Bamako, Mali Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.   (AP Photo)

Mutinous troops have seized Mali's president and prime minister and are now moving freely through the country's capital city after an apparent coup, officials say. The unrest began in the garrison town of Kati, the same place where another coup began in 2012, the AP reports. After taking control of the Kati camp and detaining senior officers Tuesday, the troops marched on the capital, Bamako, and stormed the residence of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. "What began as a mutiny appears to have morphed into a coup," says Will Ross at the BBC. "This will be welcomed by the huge number of protesters who have been out on the streets for months calling for President Keïta to step down." He notes that during the 2012 chaos, jihadists were able to seize the north of the country.

The continued conflict in the north and jihadist attacks across the country have fueled protesters' anger, along with corruption and the dire state of Mali's economy. The West African ECOWAS bloc urged soldiers to end the rebellion. "This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, ECOWAS has been taking initiatives and conducting mediation efforts with all the Malian parties," the 15-nation bloc said in a statement, per CBS. "ECOWAS calls on all soldiers to return to their barracks without delay." France and the US also voiced concerns, with J. Peter Pham, the State Department’s special envoy for the region, saying the US is "opposed to all unconstitutional changes of government whether in the streets or by security forces." (More Mali stories.)

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