Heavy gunfire heard at main Mali military base

KATI: Heavy gunfire was heard early on Friday at the main military base outside Mali’s capital Bamako before easing after about an hour, a Reuters reporter said.
Helicopters could be heard circling above the base in the town of Kati, where mutinies in 2012 and 2020 led to successful coups, after the gunfire, which began around 5 am (0500 GMT).
Mali’s military spokesman was not immediately available for comment. An official at the presidency declined to comment.
The junta that rules Mali came to power in the August 2020 coup. It staged a second coup in 2021 to force out a civilian interim president who was at odds with the leader of the first putsch, Colonel Assimi Goita.
Goita then became interim president. He plans to continue to lead a transitional government until elections are held in 2024.
He escaped unharmed in July 2021 after an assailant tried to stab him during prayers at a mosque in Bamako.
His government has sparred repeatedly with neighboring countries and international powers over election delays, alleged army abuses and cooperation with Russian mercenaries in the fight against an Islamist insurgency.
Earlier this month, Malian authorities arrested 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast when they arrived at Bamako airport. Mali’s government says the soldiers, who are still detained, came without permission and would be considered mercenaries.
Ivory Coast says the soldiers were deployed as part of a security and logistics support contract signed with the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

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