Reuters Africa

By Adama Diarra Tiemoko Diallo

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Soldiers from Mali’s ruling junta foiled a counter-coup bid by presidential guardsmen on Tuesday, overrunning their base in the capital and fending off their assaults on the airport and the state broadcaster.

The clashes in the West African state – a posterchild of African democracy before a March 22 putsch and a Tuareg rebellion thrust it into chaos – came as a setback to early international efforts to restore constitutional order.

France, Mali’s former colonial ruler, said it was “extremely concerned” by the clashes and called for them to stop, while West African regional bloc ECOWAS said the fighting had delayed talks intended to guide its transition.

“Only by re-establishing civil order will the transitional government be able to deal with the situation it faces,” a French foreign ministry spokesman said.

Members of the red beret presidential guard unit attacked important sites in and around Bamako late on Monday and into Tuesday in an apparent attempt to unseat the junta that has been in power since it ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure.  Read more...