Gunfire heard at Mali army base as embassy warns of possible mutiny
BAMAKO (Reuters) – Gunfire was heard on Tuesday at an army base outside Mail’s capital Bamako as the Norwegian Embassy and a security source said a possible military mutiny was under way.
‚ÄčLocal residents and security sources said there was gunfire at the army base in Kati, about 15 km (9 miles) outside Bamako, where a mutiny in 2012 led to a coup d’etat, although it was not immediately clear who was firing at whom.
A source who handles security for non-governmental organisations in Mali said gunfire had also been heard near the prime minister’s office.
“The embassy has been notified of a mutiny in the Armed Forces and troops are on their way to Bamako. Norwegians should exercise caution and preferably stay at home until the situation is clear,” the Norwegian Embassy said in an alert to its citizens.
“Yes, mutiny. The military has taken up arms,” a security source said.
A military spokesman confirmed that gunshots were fired at the base in Kati, but said he did not have any further information.
Opponents of the current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, have led mass protests since June calling on Keita to resign over what they say are his failures to restore security and address corruption.
At least 14 people have been killed in the protests, according to the United Nations and human rights activists.
Regional powers are worried that any prolonged unrest from the protests could derail the fight against Islamist militants in the region, many of whom are centered in Mali. Their presence has rendered large areas of the centre and north of Mali ungovernable.