Counter Coup Attempt in Bamako
David, friend and frequent commentator on this blog alerted me to this news through his comment this morning, as I emerged from the steam bath on this my last day of Health Farm pampering...
Appalled, I called Keita as usual for inside news.
Indeed, the counter coup was led by the red Berets, the Presidential Guard, still loyal the the deposed president Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT) and his set, i.e. those that the world press call 'the political elite'. Among this 'elite' you will find the same Sumaila Cisse and Modibou Sidibe that were arrested in Bamako on the 17th of April - see blog this day- amid rumours of a conspiracy that time involving Nigerian mercenaries. They were later released, Modibo Sidibe for the third time since the coup of 22nd March, because of international pressure.
The red Berets now had reinforcements from mercenaries from the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. Captain Sanogo's troops are said to have killed 'a number' of these in heavy fighting during the night in Bamako.
The status quo is regained. But it is a fragile situation. World opinion still swings towards what it regards as the injured party, the democratically elected president ATT, ousted just before the election. Therefore an attempt to restore the old regime will be viewed with leniency. The Ex-junta of Sanogo can probably never achieve any legitimacy in the world opinion, although they are now carrying out exactly what they said they would do. The terms of handing over power to a civilian government were negociated with Blaise Compaore in Ouagadougou on April 6. This agreement placed several of Sanogo's team within the interim government, thus granting them that legitimacy which is now apparently ignored.
Sonny Ugoh, a spokesman for the ECOWAS commenting on the counter coup attempt to the BBC said he was not surprised by the fighting because the junta was "still meddling" in the affairs of government.
"We urge [the military] to get back to barracks" as he puts it.
It would be helpful if the ECOWAS and the rest of the world would understand that Sanogo's junta had and still has the vast majority of the Malian people behind them. They are now acting according to the Ouagadougou agreement. There is now a President and a Prime Minister who has chosen his interim cabinet. None of these people are part of the ancien regime, the corrupt old political elite who are now stirring up trouble. This old political elite are still vastly wealthy owing to the money they stole from the Malian people during the last 'democratic' decades and they are more than able to hire mercenaries to try and recoup their lost power!