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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mali: Troops loyal to former president clash with coup fighters



Members of the presidential guard loyal to democratically elected but ousted president Toure fought with coup troops in Mali. However the ruling military leaders have announced on television that they control the state broadcasting building, the airport, and a key military base near the capital.

In a television message a military spokesperson said:"Elements from abroad, supported by some obscure forces within the country, carried out these attacks. Some of them have been arrested," It is not clear who the elements from abroad would be. The U.S. and the local country grouping ECOWAS have supported a transition civilian government that was negotiated with the coup leaders. Sanogo the coup leader was U.S. trained.

The presidential guard was never really in favor of the coup. The arrest of the former military chief along with attempts to arrest members of the presidential guard may have sparked the counter coup move. The guard is part of a regiment known as the Red Berets.

The Red Berets were said to be trying to capture the airport. A coup official said this was so that troops from ECOWAS could land. However ECOWAS had been part of successful negotiations for a transition government to be guided by the military..

Almost a week ago a 24 member cabinet was named by interim prime minister and former Microsoft executive Cheick Diarra. The government is to plan and supervise elections later this year. The coup leaders disrupted an election process that would have taken place if there had been no coup. For more see this article. The U.S. has some troops in Mali said to be on standby.

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