Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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!


Blogger Susan Scheid said...

Here's a link (if I've done this correctly) from the New York Times today: here

This press report seems to me to confirm the bias you indicate. Here are its closing lines: The junta seized power on March 22, overthrowing the democratically elected president and ending more than 20 years of democracy in this parched and baking land straddling the Sahara. Shortly afterward, a rebel movement of Islamists and nomadic fighters took control of the country’s north, splitting Mali in half. The junta, under international pressure, agreed three weeks ago to an interim government, with a president and prime minister. It appeared to have ceded power, but since then has shown increasing signs of not wanting to give it up, arresting many opposition figures.

It is hard, I suspect, for those of us who live in more or less bona fide democracies to see a junta in control as a positive. There seems to be a strong need for a nuanced corrective editorial from someone who understands this from inside Mali. I think of your friend, Dr. Guida Landoure.

2:12 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

How right you are Susan! I have myself thought of him, and was intending to ask him to comment. More soon, hopefully!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Susan Scheid said...

I'll look forward to that!

1:05 AM  
Blogger latrouss said...

Sorry for being out of touch for so long. Nothing to have with recent events (I am safe). If you read my comments earlier, my idea is that it is not that people in Mali embraced the junta, but they just rejected politicians. The sentiment today is that we have been betrayed. In 1991 those who called themselves "sinceres democrats" urged us to go on streets to protest against the dictator. We ended keeping him out but at heavy price: hundreds of deaths. The dictator was accused of corruption, nepotism etc... They tried the dictator, and found not guilty for corruption. The country had to compensate him and other members of his cabinet. After serving his sentence for the killings, the government had to give him home because he had nothing. But 20 years of democracy has made new billionnaires among government employees. Corruption has been normal, and nepotism the usual thing. Even simple government accountant earn big houses, drive nice SUVs. The daughter of the former president ATT has celebrated her 7th billion in 2010 (I have a cousin whose friend attended the ceremony), but some say that it is 3-5 billions. You imagine in a country that is ranked 174 in 177. She has just a small business company, but won many government contracts, and documents found recently showed that she did not even pay taxes she owed on her contracts. Many cases like this. So when the junta came and offered to judge all the corrupted people, they became popular. Now people see the return of politicians as an end to this dream. Plus if people rejected the former president, they do not understand how the current interim president or others who have been close collaborators of the former would be viewed as the "change". People do not like the junta to be the ruling institution, but at the same time they think if we give power back right away to civilians we may lose forever the chance to try corrupted people. I personally did not like the fact the junta arrest people without any judiciary process. But they are feeling unsecure. The understandings signed with ECOWAS said they will be granted amnisty, but senators took no action towards that, and some are even saying that they should not be granted that. They gave power back, they allowed an interim president, and a government was settled. Why don't we do something for them too to feel secure when they leave? Actually, as Sophie said, those who think they are illegitimate should look at the government wher hold 3 some say 4 major departments. They have in charge the organization of the next election. If ECOWAS thinks they are not legitimate why negotiate with them and give them such important departments? ECOWAS is acting like they just want to protect their colleagues' interest. They gather in Abidjan and decide to prolong the mandate for the interim president for 1 year, in discordance of the understandings and in violation of our constitution that says 40 days of transition. We all know that it is not possible to bring peace in the north and organize elections in 40 days, but it should not be decided without asking we Malian people. We feel this as a dictate from ECOWAS. They recognize that there is a problem in the north but send troops to Bamako. They are really antogonizing people that were against Sanogo. No country in the world wants to feel under supervision, and we feel like ECOWAS is treating us as nothing, and this reinforces Sanogo's position. Sanogo has said that interim institutions are in place, and they will continue functioning regardless. I am few miles from military camps, and my family is calling. They want I leave because of news that the fight is still going on. Hopefully it will end soon.
Please let me know if you do not agree or want more clarifications.
By the way, my paperwork to start working (refer to my interview) has been signed, like a good sign for the new authorities.
GOD bring peace Mali and allover the world.

4:12 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Dear Guida,
thank you so much for this! Susan, it is Dr. Landoure himself, rising to your challenge!
I have also emailed you, to try and clarify a few points. The situation is quite complicated and very confusing for those who are not familiar with Mali and its recent history.

It is good news that your papers have finally been signed. As you explained in my interview with you in this blog at the beginning of April, you had steadfastly refused to give the bribe that was necessary for the signing of the papers.Good for you and good for Mali and the new authorities, as you say, that it was finally done without corruption!
God bless Mali and bring Peace- Amina!

4:35 PM  
Blogger mary said...

Please can you clarify something for me. Mamadou Keita talks of 'red berets' and 'green berets' and his written English does not make clear who these are. I understand the red berets from your blog - but the green?
Hope that you feel well oiled after your spa visit.

7:05 PM  
Blogger mary said...

Sorry, my mistake. It was 'red soldiers' and 'green soldiers'.

7:10 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

I am not sure, Mary, but I think he means that the green soldiers are the ordinary infantry.

7:45 PM  

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