Tag Archives: Mali coup

Mali – coup leader Sanogo detained


Mali’s ex-junta chief Sanogo held in custody

By Adama Diarra and Tiemoko Diallo

BAMAKO          Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:32pm GMT

Mali's former junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo speaks to the media after agreeing to hand over power to the president of the National Assembly, at a military base in Kati April 7, 2012. REUTERS/Joe Penney

Mali’s former junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo speaks to the media after agreeing to hand over power to the president of the National Assembly, at a military base in Kati April 7, 2012.    Credit: Reuters/Joe Penney

(Reuters) – Mali’s former junta chief, General Amadou Sanogo, has been detained after being questioned by a judge on Wednesday over what a senior judicial source said were accusations of post-coup violence by the army and financial crimes.

The source said Sanogo had been charged with murder although this could not immediately be confirmed by Defence Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, who told Reuters he had been remanded in custody.


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Mali’s newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is under pressure to restore the state’s authority over the army, which overthrew President Amandou Toumani Toure last year, plunging the West African country into chaos.

Controlling the army, along with regaining control of the north, which was occupied by separatists and Islamists rebels until a French-led intervention in January, are widely considered Keita’s two biggest challenges.

A spokesman for the group of soldiers involved in last year’s coup declined to comment on Sanogo’s detention.

The judiciary source said authorities questioned Sanogo over army violence linked to a counter-coup shortly after he seized power in March 2012 and suspicions of financial crimes related to money transfers from the government.

“He needs to account for the use of sums that he received from the defence department,” he said, asking not to be named.

It was not immediately clear if the financial probe was linked to a report released this week by Mali’s auditor general which found that 49.4 billion CFA francs ($102.12 million) had been lost in 2012 to fraud and mismanagement.

Sanogo had repeatedly been called in for questioning over the deaths of six soldiers during an army protest in September but failed to appear.

The hearing took place on Wednesday in the Faladie Gendarme training college of Bamako and not the regular court for security reasons, an army officer said.


After ceding power under intense international pressure last year, Sanogo, then a captain, headed a committee tasked with reforming the army. The new government removed him from that post in August but he retained his rank as general.

Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, called the detention of Sonago “hugely significant” and said Mali’s legal system had demonstrated considerable courage questioning such a powerful figure.

“But many other victims of abuses by all warring factions during Mali’s recent armed conflict await justice,” she said.

Birama Cisse, a shopkeeper in the capital Bamako, welcomed the news that Sanogo had been forced to appear before a judge.

“Like all Malians, General Sanogo is not above the law. He must respond to the court summons and this should be an example to others,” he told Reuters.

But others in the capital, where many supported his coup due to frustrations over corruption and the lack of progress under Toure, expressed concern that the detention could result in an army backlash at a time when Mali is still seeking stability.

“I’m afraid that this hearing will lead to a mutiny in the army. He has supporters,” said student Mamou Diabate.

While it revamps its army, Mali is still struggling to cope with al Qaeda-linked rebels, who were scattered by French forces in a January intervention but are still launching sporadic attacks in the country’s north.

Two French journalists were abducted and killed by gunman in the north Malian town of Kidal earlier this month. ($1 = 483.7260 CFA francs)

(Reporting by David Lewis in Dakar and Adama Diarra in Bamako; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by David Lewis)  Reuters

Mal coup leader Sanogo summoned by judge over violence


Amadou Sanogo, alongside 20 of his officers, were arrested over alleged violence committed under his command.

Sanogo led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure last year [AFP]
The soldier who led a coup that ousted Mali’s government and paved the way for a sweeping Islamist offensive has been summoned to appear in court over alleged violence involving men under his command.

A judicial source said on Thursday that the intention was to question Amadou Sanogo about “the deaths in the last mutiny against him”, adding that he would also be questioned “on all violence in recent times”, of which his men have been accused.

“The police on Thursday received a summons from the Malian courts for General Amadou Sanogo. According to the procedure, the notice shall be addressed to the Malian Ministry of Defence, which in turn, will inform General Sanogo of the summons,” said a source at a police station in the capital, Bamako.

About 20 officers, including Sanogo’s former deputy, were arrested. Sanogo led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22 last year, upending what had been considered one of West Africa’s flagship democracies.

The bodies of three missing soldiers were subsequently discovered in and around the Kati barracks, relatives told AFP news agency.

It was not immediately clear when Sanogo was due to appear in court.

Sanogo’s controversial rise

Sanogo was controversially promoted from captain to lieutenant-general in August, prompting fellow ex-junta members also seeking promotion to mutiny earlier this month at his former headquarters, a barracks near Bamako, and forcing the army to intervene.

The mutiny precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Islamist fighters linked to al-Qaeda, but a military intervention by French and African troops in January chased the rebels from the region’s main cities.

The coup also deepened a rift within the army between the Red Berets, loyal  to Toure, and the Green Berets, who were broadly pro-junta, and Sanogo was implicated in the disappearances of Red Berets after a failed counter-coup on April 30 last year.

In the months that followed the March coup, the Kati barracks was the site of numerous atrocities allegedly committed by Sanogo’s men against military considered loyal to the ousted president.

Sanogo has since moved from Kati to the capital and Mali’s new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has vowed that Bamako is “no longer going to live in fear of Kati”.  al jazeera

Mali – reports of foreign fighters arriving in Islamist-controlled north


Foreign fighters have arrived in a town in northern Mali, Gao’s exiled mayor has told the BBC, confirming reports of an influx of jihadists to the north.

Mujao fighter in Gao, Mali - July 2012

Islamists took advantage of chaos in the north to seize control

Sadou Diallo said between 60 and 100 Algerians and Sahrawis had come into the town about four or five days ago.

A resident in Timbuktu told the AFP news agency on Monday that Sudanese Islamists had arrived over the weekend.

Plans are under way for military intervention after Islamists took over northern Mali earlier this year.


Two weeks ago, the UN Security Council gave the regional bloc Ecowas 45 days to draw up a plan with the details of its offer to send 3,000 troops to the vast desert region.

The Islamist groups and Tuareg rebels took control of northern Mali following a coup in March.

The junta seized power, accusing the government of failing to deal effectively with a Tuareg rebellion that had started in January – but Islamist groups then took advantage of the chaos and seized all the region’s major towns, including the historic city of Timbuktu.

The Islamists, who have since fallen out with their Tuareg allies, have imposed a harsh interpretation of Sharia in the areas they control – there are reports of people being stoned to death and having their limbs amputated.

‘Koranic students recruited’
Mr Diallo told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme the foreign fighters were lightly armed and had arrived in Gao on 93 trucks.

“They were identified as coming mainly from Western Sahara and Algeria. They seem to be instructors. They bring small arms with them, not heavy weapons,” he said, adding that one or two of the fighters were from Sudan.
“They don’t live in the town, they come in during the day, they don’t harm the population, they just go about their business and leave at night.”

Mr Diallo, Gao’s elected mayor who was speaking from the capital, Bamako, said that the Islamist group controlling the town – the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao) – had also recruited 200 students from local Koranic schools.

“There is a radical Muslim sect in surrounding villages and all young people from the Koranic schools in the area have joined Mujao… not because they support the group, but because they’ve lost hope after seven months of suffering, they’re unemployed; they can’t resist,” he added.

He said Mujao paid them between $300 (about £190) and $400 a month.

Earlier a security official told AFP news agency that hundreds of Sudanese and Sahrawi fighters had arrived in the region.

An resident in Timbuktu told the agency on Monday that “more than 150 Sudanese Islamists arrived in 48 hours”.

“They are armed and explained that they had come to help their Muslim brothers against the infidels,” the agency quoted him as saying.

Timbuktu is where centuries-old shrines to Islamic saints, revered by Sufi Muslims, have also been destroyed by the Islamists, who consider them idolatrous.

Meanwhile, the UK says it could help to provide training for the West African military intervention.

Stephen O’Brien, the UK special envoy to the region, said after his return from discussions in Mali with the government and its international partners that if the crisis in the north was left unresolved the region could provide a new base for terror networks.

“Al-Qaeda in the [Islamic] Maghreb, which has activities in the area, is growing in both capability and ambition, and if we don’t act there is a very real threat of further attacks in Africa, and eventually Europe, the Middle East and beyond,” AP news agency quotes him as saying.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has pledged similar support and voiced similar concerns. bbc

Guinea blocks arms shipment to Mali as distrust grows

Reuters Africa

DAKAR/CONAKRY (Reuters) – Guinea has blocked a shipment of heavy weapons to Mali fearing they could end up in the wrong hands, a Guinean official and regional diplomats said on Thursday, a further sign of distrust between regional powers and Mali’s former junta.

The weeks-long weapons stand-off underscores a deep regional crisis as Mali’s neighbours and Western nations fear a new global security threat but are struggling to respond to it.

Rebels dominated by Islamists – including al Qaeda – have taken over the north, and Mali’s military coup leaders, despite handing power to civilians in April, are widely suspected of pulling levers of power behind the scenes.

Mali’s military leadership this week said it opposed direct foreign intervention to regain control of the desert north, clashing publicly with the interim government which had hours earlier made a formal request for a regional force.

“(West African regional bloc) ECOWAS wanted the constitutional crisis ended and a strong civilian government in place before they released the weapons,” a regional diplomat told Reuters. “They didn’t want to reinforce the junta.”

Abdoul Kabele Camara, Guinea’s deputy defence minister, confirmed a weapons shipment to land-locked Mali had been blocked as the government did not know who in Mali should receive them but said there were talks over their release.

A source monitoring international arms shipments said that about 20 BTR-60 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), ordered by ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure, were being blocked onboard a ship that had sailed from Bulgaria.

Bakary Mariko, a spokesman for Mali’s CNRDRE former junta, blamed ECOWAS and the African Union for Guinea’s freezing of the shipment, which he said included about a dozen APCs. He said a shipment of 1,000 light arms had been blocked also at the Senegalese port of Dakar.  Read more…

Un Secretary-General urges sanctions over Mali

United Nations/allAfrica

Warning that the situation in Mali was taking “one alarming turn after another”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council today on a raft of grave developments there – including a deepening humanitarian emergency and mounting evidence that the country’s vast northern region was being overrun by a volatile mix of armed groups – and encouraged the 15-nation body to “seriously consider” imposing sanctions on those fanning the flames of the crisis.

“We have seen a regional pillar of democracy fall steeply off the constitutional path,” he said, telling Council members that the “deeply troubling situation” meant that “more may be required of you” following their unanimous adoption last month of a resolution condemning the coup d’état that had toppled the Government in March, and expressing the Council’s readiness to study the request from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union for a United Nations mandate authorizing deployment of a subregional stabilization force in Mali.

The Secretary-General spotlighted the enormous suffering caused by an already horrendous food and nutrition emergency that was growing even worse, now threatening some 4.6 million people in Mali and more than 18 million people across the wider Sahel. Moreover, the ongoing political instability had displaced more than 174,000 Malians and driven a quarter of a million more into neighbouring countries.

He also cited the rise of extremism, criminal activity and human rights violations in northern Mali, where the security situation remained “volatile and unpredictable” after the Ansar Dine and Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa – armed groups reportedly linked to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb – had forced the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad from territory under its control.

Encouraging the Council seriously to consider imposing targeted travel and financial sanctions against individuals or groups engaged in terrorism, religious extremism or other such activities, he said that besides international engagement, the crisis in Mali would require a holistic and comprehensive approach, rather than partial and disconnected measures, given its complex and multidimensional nature. “I strongly encourage the Government of Mali to develop an overarching political strategy to return the country to constitutional order and re-establish State authority in the north,” Mr. Ban said. Read more…

Mali – interim president beaten by protestors

Reuters Africa

By Adama Diarra

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s caretaker president Dioncounda Traore was beaten up and hospitalised after hundreds of protesters stormed his palace on Monday to demand his resignation, officials and protesters said.

A spokesman for the soldiers behind a March 22 coup said Traore’s close-protection officers had killed three people in the attack, in which protesters entered parts of the palace compound unopposed and tore up pictures of Traore.

Mali is struggling to cope with the aftermath of the coup and a subsequent rebellion in its desert north. Sanogo agreed at the weekend to drop objections to Traore remaining in charge but crowds encouraged by pro-coup politicians took to the streets on Monday calling for him to quit.

Resolving the political crisis in the capital Bamako is a prerequisite for foreign help in efforts to retake control of the north, now in the hands of separatist and Islamist rebels, including some al Qaeda fighters.

“He (Traore) has just been rushed to hospital … They beat him seriously and tore his clothes,” Bakary Mariko, spokesman for the CNRDRE body of soldiers who last month formally agreed to allow a transition back to civilian rule, said by telephone.  Read more…

Protests in Mali over interim president decision


Thousands of supporters of March’s coup in Mali have marched in protest at a regional deal for the interim civilian leader to remain in office for a year.

Djouncounda Traore’s initial mandate was due to expire on Monday.

But West African leaders reached a deal with coup leader Capt Amadou Sanogo for Mr Traore to stay on to organise elections and end a northern rebellion.

The deal also saw Capt Sanogo recognised as a former head of state with a salary and a mansion.

The coup, and ensuing rebel seizure of northern Mali, have led many thousands of people to flee their homes.

Aid agencies say they are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in Mali, which is also suffering from the regional drought.


Bamako-based journalist Martin Vogl says soldiers let some of the protesters into the presidential palace but Mr Traore was not there, so they left. Read more…