Conflict & Justice

Mali junta says countercoup defeated, but Bamako gunfire continues


Putschist soldiers (L) watch and protect people queuing at a gas station on March 24, 2012 in Bamako, three days after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was forced to flee his palace during an overnight coup.


Habibour Kouyate

Gunfire continues to be heard in Bamako, Mali's capital, despite junta leaders saying their soldiers have defeated a countercoup.

More than a month after a group of soldiers ousted Mali’s democratically elected president Amadou Toumani Toure, foreign-backed forces loyal to Toure on Monday attempted an overnight countercoup, Agence France-Presse said.

While junta leaders said their soldiers have retaken control of Bamako, shooting could be heard Tuesday as rival government troops fought each other, suggesting that the junta, led by Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, still doesn't have complete control of the capital, the Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: Mali coup: Soldiers overthrow government, loot presidential palace 

The junta handed power to an interim government after the March coup, but still wields considerable influence in Mali, controlling the state broadcaster, airport and a military base, the AP said. 

According to AFP, gunfire had erupted at the state television and radio station, the airport and at rebel headquarters located at the Kati army barracks near Bamako. Sources told the news agency there had been deaths in the fighting, but casualty figures were not known.

Captain Sanogo signed a deal with the West African regional bloc ECOWAS that gave the junta a supervisory role in the transition back to constitutional rule.

But West African heads of state at an ECOWAS summit on April 26 called for the soldiers to get out of politics completely, according to the AP.

More from GlobalPost: Mali: countercoup attempted