Paratroopers mutiny in Mali

Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013
mali mutiny

MALI MUTINY: Government forces have exchanged fire with mutinous paratroopers in Mali.

Relevant offers

Africa

Freed Nigerian schoolgirls reunite with families three years after kidnapping Christian sect members attack Congo prison, free leader, government says Heavy gunfire erupts in Ivory Coast's two main cities after army mutiny World Health Organisation confirms second Ebola case in Congo outbreak Congo death signals new Ebola outbreak in central Africa - ministry South Africa captures four of five escaped lions from Kruger Park War forces two million South Sudanese children to flee homes Hundreds of migrants feared dead in Mediterranean over weekend - survivors 82 girls released by Boko Haram extremist group arrive in Nigeria's capital 82 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria have been released: officials

Heavy gunfire erupted in the west of Mali's capital Bamako yesterday, as government forces exchanged fire with mutinous paratroopers, military sources and witnesses said.

Government forces sealed off the area around the paratroopers' base, as reinforcements arrived to quell the mutiny which was protesting disciplinary measures against some of the unit's members. Smoke was seen rising from the camp.

Since a military coup in March last year that plunged Mali into chaos and led to the occupation of the north by Tuareg and Islamist rebels, paratroopers loyal to former President Amadou Toumani Toure had been largely sidelined and some arrested.

"The Chief of Staff had taken a disciplinary measure against some of the paratroopers, and some of them were not happy with the decision so they woke up this morning and started shooting," a Malian defense ministry official told Reuters.

The shooting in the southern capital Bamako occurred while French and Chadian troops hunted Islamist rebels hundreds of kilometres (miles) to the north in the second phase of a French-led military operation against al Qaeda-allied insurgents.

North of Gao, a Saharan town recently recaptured from the Islamists, a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up on Friday, injuring one Malian soldier, a Mali military officer said.

It was the first reported suicide bombing since the French-led military intervention launched on January 11 drove the Islamist rebels from their desert strongholds of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal in northern Mali.

"A kamikaze on a motorbike just blew himself up at the Bourem checkpoint at 6:30 am (1:30 a.m. ET). One lightly wounded soldier from Gao," the officer told Reuters by text message.

In Bamako, groups of the paratroopers, who wear red berets, had been staging protests to demand that commanders send them to the front to join the offensive against the Islamists.

The French-led military operation involving 4000 French troops backed by warplanes successfully pushed the Islamist rebels out of the main towns of northern Mali, but driving them from their mountain bases could prove a tougher task.

France and its western allies are pushing for a national political settlement and democratic elections to stabilize the situation in the West Africa state, where interim civilian leaders have faced interference from March coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo and other junta officers.

In May, Sanogo's troops said they put down a counter-coup attempt led by paratroopers which led to several days of fighting in the riverside capital in which at least 27 people were killed.

Ad Feedback

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content