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Soldiers take up arms as Mali crisis deepens: Live updates | Mali News

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Malian soldiers have taken up arms and staged an apparent mutiny at a key base in Kati, a town close to the capital, Bamako.

The developing situation on Tuesday comes amid a weeks-long political crisis that has seen opposition protesters taking to the streets to demand the departure of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, accusing him of allowing the country’s economy to collapse and mishandling a worsening security situation.

There were reports of senior politicians and army officers being held but it was not clear by whom.

Amid the confusion, opposition protesters gathered at a square in Bamako while regional and international powers urged the soldiers to return to the barracks and foreign embassies advised their citizens to stay indoors.

Here are the latest updates:

16:40 GMT – Protesters gather in Bamako

In Bamako, hundreds of people have poured into the square around the Independence Monument, the site of mass protests since June, calling for Keita to quit over alleged corruption and worsening security.

“Whether he’s been arrested or not, what is certain is that his end is near. God is granting our prayers. IBK is finished,” Haidara Assetou Cisse, a teacher, told Reuters news agency, referring to the president by his initials.

“We have come out today to call for the total resignation of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Because we heard there were shots fired by the military and we have come out to help our soldiers get rid of IBK,” opposition supporter Aboubacar Ibrahim Maiga said.

Protesters have also attacked the justice minister’s personal offices, setting parts of them on fire, a Reuters witness said.

Opposition supporters in the Independence Square in Bamako react to the news of a possible mutiny of soldiers [Rey Byhre/Reuters]

16:07 GMT: Mali PM calls for dialogue

Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cisse called on the mutinying soldiers to stand down and urged dialogue to resolve the situation.

In a statement, he said the mutiny “reflects a certain frustration that could have legitimate causes. The government of Mali asks all the authors of these acts to stand down.”

16:04 GMT: France condemns Mali ‘mutiny’

France denounced “in the strongest terms” what it described as a mutiny launched by soldiers in Mali.

“France has become aware of the mutiny that has taken place today in Kati, Mali. It condemns in the strongest terms this serious event,” Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said in a statement that also urged the soldiers to return to their barracks “without delay”.

Opposition supporters react to the news of a possible mutiny of soldiers in the military base in Kati, outside the capital Bamako, at Independence Square in Bamako, Mali August 18, 2020. The sign read

A protest movement calling for Mali’s president to step down has been ongoing for two months [Rey Byhre/Reuters]

15:50 GMT: ECOWAS urges Mali soldiers to ‘return to barracks’

The West African bloc ECOWAS called on the soldiers “to return to their barracks without delay”.

“This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, ECOWAS has been taking initiatives and conducting mediation efforts with all the Malian parties,” the bloc said in a statement.

15:30 GMT: Warnings of possible mutiny

Gunfire was heard at an army base near Bamako, with the Norwegian embassy talking of a possible military mutiny. Soldiers fired their guns into the air in the base in Kati, some 15km (9 miles) from Bamako.

Witnesses said armoured tanks and military vehicles could be seen on the streets of Kati, The Associated Press news agency reported.

Read more here.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

ChangeYouCanTrust

CountryBeforeSelf

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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