A colonel known to be close to Mali’s ruling junta was arrested last week in connection with what authorities said was a thwarted coup attempt, a military official and relative said on Tuesday (May 17th).
“Colonel Keïta is among the putschists arrestedsaid a Defense Ministry official on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. Colonel Amadou Keïta, although presumed to have been one of the first putschists in 2020, is not a known face among the officers who took power almost two years ago.
He is one of some 120 members of the National Transitional Council (CNT), which serves as parliament during the period supposed to precede a return of civilians to the head of the country. The strong man of Mali, Colonel Assimi Goïta, had the upper hand in the appointment of members of the CNT. Colonel Keïta is reputed to be close to the president of the CNT, Colonel Malick Diaw, who is considered to be one of the most powerful men in the junta.
A dozen arrests?
“Since the 12th, we have had no further news from Colonel Amadou Keïta. Two of his comrades told us that he was arresteda close relative told AFP, also on condition of anonymity. This relative did not comment on the reasons for his disappearance. But according to the junta, Mali was the scene of a shadowy coup attempt on the night of May 11 to 12. The government put in place by the military said Monday evening that it had foiled an attempted putsch that night led by officers and non-commissioned officers and supported by an unspecified Western state.
The statement read on state television gave almost no details on what would have happened, and produced no evidence of the reality of this information. He reported arrests without further details. A military official speaking on condition of anonymity spoke of a dozen arrests so far.
Mali, plunged into deep security and political crises since the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in 2012 in the North, was the scene of two coups led by the same group of colonels in August 2020 and May 2021. The country is now ruled by a junta that has turned away from France and its partners, and has turned to Russia in an attempt to stem the spread of jihadism that has spread to the center and neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. .
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