Residents of Bamako, the capital of Mali, waited in tension and uncertainty on Saturday for the outcome of a military coup d’état that overthrew the country’s elected government last week, ending more than 20 years of democracy in the nation.
Regional analysts and residents said little appeared to be resolved as junta leaders struggled to maintain control amid increasing international isolation and persistent rumors of an imminent countercoup. State television, seized early on by the coup leaders, went off the air for an hour on Friday night as soldiers set up barricades around the downtown building housing it.
Later, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, the coup leader who had received military training in the United States, appeared briefly to assure viewers of his “good health,” followed by repeated declarations of support for the junta from young people and other backers, many using the same language. Speaking of the countercoup rumors, a military spokesman, Col. Idrissa Traore, said Saturday that there was “nothing serious in all that.”
Yet the announcement that the junta remained in control was hardly seen as definitive by observers. “The situation is very fluid,” said Dr. Abdel Fatau Musah, a senior official with the regional grouping of West African states, Ecowas, who left Bamako on Saturday morning. “Nobody knows what is going to happen.”
Ecowas, which has condemned the coup, scheduled an emergency meeting of regional leaders for Tuesday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The whereabouts of Mali’s elected president, Amadou Toumani Touré, remained unknown.
Source: The New York Times | ADAM NOSSITER