“This morning a total calm reigns over Bamako and the night was quiet. But until 23:00 gunfire could be heard at the center of the capital, fueling further uncertainty and confusion as to the actual control of the situation by the coup plotters” says Father Thimoté Diallo, curate of the cathedral and head of communications of the Diocese of Bamako, the day after the military coup and the creation of a ‘national committee for the restoration of democracy and the restoration of the State’ led by Captain Amadou Sanogo.
Father Diallo said that “people stayed at home, shops and offices stayed closed, the international airport was closed and said the coup plotters also closed borders”. Father Diallo adds that “soldiers have been moving downtown using motorcycles and 4WD’s, heavily armed, yelling and firing into the air, fueling concern among the people.” Moreover, to keep people ‘informed’ about what is happening, “the junta released more messages until 20:30, but for the rest of the Malian Radio and Television has broadcast only music.”
The Malian media, including the daily newspaper ‘Le Journal du Mali’, stress that “scenes of theft and looting have proliferated in the capital”, in particular against grocery stores and private vehicles, and report that in their fifth message the coup leaders have asked “those responsible to stop the riots.”
From humanitarian sources come the first results of the coup, started from the military garrison of Kati, about 15 km from Bamako.
According to the Malian Red Cross about forty people, including some civilians are said to have been injured by gunfire while Amnesty International reports 28 injured and one to three deaths among the military. But the junta has not provided any information about any dead or wounded among its elements or among civilians. Military sources remaining loyal to the head of state Amadou Toumani Toure said that clashes occurred near the presidency between mutineers and men of the presidential guard. Equally uncertain is the fate of some government personalities – including three ministers were arrested and taken to the military camp Kati – but especially that of Toure.
“There are two versions: the first sees Touré is in a military camp in Bamako, the second suggests that he has been brought to an embassy, but in any case that he is under the protection of the elite presidential guard forces,” says to MISNA, Father Diallo. Observers point out that there is a split within the armed forces between those who support the coup and who does not approve of the coup.
“For weeks it was clear the growing discomfort of the army but also discontent among ordinary soldiers sent to the front to the north, who accused officers of remaining in the safety of the capital,” says another local source to MISNA who prefers to remain anonymous, stressing that “the move of extreme and rapid coup came as a surprise just weeks from the presidential vote”.
Meanwhile the international community has issued fresh condemnations of the coup and the first sanctions that seem to bring the Mali diplomatic isolation on the road. The 15 member states of the UN Security Council called for the “immediate restoration of constitutional order”, “the safety of President Touré”, “the release of all prisoners” and “respect the electoral process by schedule “. The African Development Bank and World Bank have decided to suspend aid and development operations in the country, except for urgent assistance.