News24

Mali ex-junta forces staff from state TV

2012-05-02 20:15

Bamako - Soldiers loyal to Mali's former ruling junta ordered the staff of the state broadcaster to leave its offices on Wednesday without giving any reason, an employee said.

The employee said the troops, who on Monday beat back an attack on the ORTM building by other soldiers loyal to Mali's ousted president, appeared nervous, and an armoured car had fired in the air nearby.

The incidents sparked panic locally, with banks closing and civil servants in a number of ministries fleeing their offices.

Mali's rulers had sought to restore calm earlier on Wednesday after pro-junta soldiers stamped out a counter-coup bid by the presidential guard loyal to ex-president Amadou Toumani Toure, sparking clashes in the capital that left at least 22 dead.

The head of the junta that ousted Toure on March 22, Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, assured the situation was "under control" after an offensive described as an attempt on his life.

Fighting erupted late on Monday at ORTM, Bamako airport and at Kati, the garrison town near the capital that is the junta's headquarters, and continued on Tuesday.

Sanogo termed the clashes "an internal matter that was being managed", and vowed the April 6 deal he signed with west African mediators restoring civilian rule remained in force.