The mutiny of Malian troops condemned by Ecowas and France


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France, former colonial power, urged soldiers to return to barracks

A mutiny by soldiers in the West African strategic state of Mali was condemned by the regional group Ecowas and the former colonial power France.

Gunfire broke out at a key military base, about 15 km (nine miles) from the capital, Bamako, on Tuesday morning.

In central Bamako, young men looted a government building and set it on fire.

The unrest coincides with calls for more demonstrations to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta.

He won a second term in the 2018 elections, but there is widespread anger over corruption, mismanagement of the economy, and the deteriorating security situation with increasing jihadist and community violence.

It is not yet known how many soldiers took part in the mutiny. Some reports say it was fueled by a wage dispute.

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Soldiers were pictured patrolling the streets after hearing gunshots

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) urged the mutineers to return to the barracks.

“This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, Ecowas has been taking initiatives and leading mediation efforts with all the Malian parties,” said its press release.

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Media captionMahmoud Dicko has established himself as the leader of an opposition movement seeking the departure of the Malian president

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said France had condemned “in the strongest terms this serious event” and that he also urged the soldiers to return to the barracks.

France has troops in the West African state to fight Islamist militants.

Images from the AFP news agency show a building belonging to the Ministry of Justice in Bamako on fire:

Meanwhile, the president’s son Karim Keïta has dismissed as false information that he was arrested by the troops.

In recent months, huge crowds left behind by populist Imam Mahmoud Dicko have called on President Keïta to step down.

Much smaller crowds are said to have gathered in the capital on Tuesday to support the soldiers.


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