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History of coups in Mali – A coup begets a coup

A short history of military coups in Mali, the West African country which is going through its fourth coup since gaining independence in 1960 validating as true the popular adage a coup begets a coup.

PovoNews.com previously reported that Mali’s President Keita was forced to resign on Tuesday evening, 18 August 2020 after a military coup.

Mali’s first coup: 18-19 November 1968

The 1968 Malian coup d’état was plotted by lieutenants Moussa Traoré, Tiécoro Bagayoko, Kissima Doukara, Youssouf Traoré and Filifing Sissoko deposing Mali’s founding president Modibo Keïta.

On the night of November 18-19, the putschists announced the coup at the Kati garrison that is located 15km’s away from Mali’s capital Bamako. The telephone network was cut off at 2 am and by 10 am President Keita was arrested at Kayo, a few kilometers from Bamako.

Lieutenant (later Major General) Moussa Traoré who led the coup against President Keita headed the Military Committee for National Liberation that ruled Mali by decree before he was declared the head of state in 1969.

Mali’s second coup: 26 March 1991

On 22 March 1991 over 28 protesters were killed by soldiers in Bamako during nationwide protests led by the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (ADEMA) a then newly formed umbrella organization for opposition groups demanding the end of the one party-state.

The discontent against Mali’s then-president Moussa Traoré was a culmination of his long-term dictatorship, the regime’s corruption, IMF backed austerity measures, and the mismanagement of the economy causing increased hardships for all but the rich elite.

In response to days of rioting and calls for his resignation over the March 22 massacre, President Traoré declared a state of emergency and refused to concede to opposition demands. The army stepped in led by Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Toumani Touré deposing President Traoré on 26 March 1991.

The bloody coup resulted in the death of at least 59 people including the then education minister Bakary Traore and Mamadou Diarra (brother-in-law of president Touré) who were both burned to death.

A National Reconciliation Council (Transitional Committee for the Salvation of the People) chaired by Lieutenant Colonel Amadou Toumani Touré was set up to run the country until a civilian government was reestablished in 1992 after the constitutional referendum, presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mali’s third coup: March 2012

The Tuareg Rebellion of 2012 in which insurgents from the northern region of Mali tried to declare independence and a food crisis pushed the country towards another coup.

Defence minister Brigadier General Sadio Gassama was briefly detained by soldiers at the Kati military camp on March 21 as he was attempting to defuse a protest planned for the next day.

By March 22 soldiers had ransacked the presidential palace in search for president Amadou Toumani Toure who was now in hiding at a military camp somewhere in Bamako, under protection from his “Red Berets”, a parachute regiment which he formerly served in.

Captian Amadou Haya Sanogo under the banner of the National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CNRDR deposed President Amadou Toumani Touré in March.

Sanctions, international isolation and a counter-coup forced Sanogo to resign and later agree to a unity government in August 2012 which led to the 2013 elections that brought Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta into power.

Mali’s fourth coup: 18 August 2020

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta won a second term in office after a disputed election in 2018 as tension simmered over widespread corruption and an insurgency in northern areas of the country.

On 30 May 2020, the main opposition parties, as well as civil society groups, form a new opposition alliance, called “Movement of June 5 – Rally of Patriotic Forces”.

It has prompted several large protests in recent months. A new opposition coalition led by the conservative Imam, Mahmoud Dicko, has called for reforms after rejecting concessions from Mr Keïta, including the formation of a unity government.

Muslim cleric, Mahmoud Dicko, who supported Keita in the 2013 election leads mass protests against Keita starting in early June, during demonstrations in July, security forces kill at least 14 people hardening opposition demands that Keita resign.

The opposition alliance rejects plans proposed by the 15-nation ECOWAS bloc to defuse tensions culminating in an announcement on August 17 that they will stage daily protests until their demands are met.

On August 18 President Keita & Prime Minister Boubou Cisse are detained by soldiers who earlier in the day staged a mutiny at the Kati military base just outside Bamako.

Keita later announced his resignation around midnight following the August 18 mutiny led by Colonel Malick Diaw saying that he does not wish blood to be shed.

A spokesperson of the coup, one Colonel-Major Ismael Wague who is the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force issued a press statement in his capacity as the spokesperson of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People Mali

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