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    Posted March 22, 2012 by
    lumiere
    Location
    bamako

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    Coup d'état in Mali?

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     lumiere says it was late into the evening when he got a text message from his friend Nordine, a journalist in Mali. Nordine's message described his fears of the rising tension and violence in the Bamako, the capital. Lumiere and Nordine finally started video chatting via facebook where Nordine describes the military coup taking over the city. Lumiere translated Nordine's French in the iReport video, transcribing the recent tension between the Mali's military forces and its President, who is currently in hiding after a military coup stormed the presidential quarters. Past the fighting and gunfire, Lumiere says he thinks this conflict is really between the military and the government. "What is really strange is that the population is really upset," Lumiere points out. "They had an election planned for the 19th of April, but the president said he didn't want to run again, and everyone is wondering why a coup was happening so close to the election," he says.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    MARCH 22ND, BAMAKO, MALI: Nordine Mzalla and photographer Riad Abada report from Mali on the night of Wednesday March 22, 2012 where a possible coup d'etat is taking place. Nordine explains how the unrest came about and what the current situation is like in the capital Bamako:

    NORDINE MZALLA: FOR THE LAST MONTH AND A HALF, THE ARMY IS CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT, WHO IS ALSO AN EX MILITARY LEADER WHO HIMSELF TOPPLED THE REGIME OF EX-DICTATOR MOUSSA TRAORé.

    THE CURRENT PRESIDENT TOURé HAS BEEN POPULAR BUT IS NEARING THE END OF HIS TERM WITH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS PLANNED FOR APRIL 29TH OF THIS YEAR.

    THE ARMY IS CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT FOR HIS LACK OF TOUGHNESS AND NOT ALLOCATING ENOUGH RESOURCES TO FIGHT THE REBELLION IN THE NORTH WHO ARE DEMANDING THEIR INDEPENDENCE IN THE AZAOUAD REGION IN THE NORTHERN PART OF MALI.

    THE SITUATION GOT MUCH WORSE THIS MORNING. IN KATI, A CITY LOCATED 15 KILOMETERS FROM BAMAKO, FAMILIES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL DEMONSTRATED AND PLANNED TO ATTACK OFFICERS WHO THEY BLAMED FOR SENDING THEIR SONS TO FIGHT THE REBELLION WITHOUT ADEQUATE SUPPORT. A REBELLION WHO IS REPORTED TO HAVE GOTTEN THE UPPER-HAND ON THE ARMY AND OVERTAKEN THE TESSALIT REGION WHICH INCLUDES A SMALL AIRPORT IN THE NORTH OF MALI.

    THE PROTEST BETWEEN THE FAMILIES OF SIMPLE SOLDIERS AND THE OFFICERS WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO BE PEACEFUL, QUICKLY GOT OUT OF CONTROL AND THE OFFICERS THEMSELVES NOW ACCOMPANIED BY THEIR BATTALION AND MILITARY VEHICLES LED BY A TANK HEADED FOR THE CAPITAL BAMAKO TO CONFRONT THE PART OF THE ARMY STILL LOYAL TO THE PRESIDENT.

    TONIGHT WE LEARN THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE WAS ENCIRCLED AND HAS BEEN EVACUATED. THE NATIONAL TELEVISION CHANNEL WAS ALSO TARGETED AND FOR THE LAST FEW HOURS, THE ONLY BROADCAST IS A MESSAGE ANNOUNCING AN IMMINENT MESSAGE COMING FROM THE MILITARY.

    THE EXACT WORDING IS "IN A MOMENT, A STATEMENT FROM THE MILITARY".

    FOR NOW THERE HAS BEEN NO STATEMENT, BUT WE HEAR LOTS OF GUN FIRE IN THE STREET, SHOUTING AND CONVOYS DRIVING BY WHILE SHOOTING THEIR GUNS UP THE THE AIR.

    WE HEAR THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SURROUNDED IN A BARRACK WHERE HE USED TO BE AN OFFICER. A BARRACK CALLED DJI KORONI WHERE MANY PARATROOPERS RESIDE IN THE CENTER OF THE CITY.

    MY PHOTOGRAPHER, RIAD ABADA AND MYSELF WERE SUPPOSED TO INTERVIEW THE PRESIDENT AFTER BEING HERE FOR ABOUT A MONTH INTERVIEWING OFFICERS, AND EVEN REBELS. WE WERE PLANNING ON ENDING OUR VISIT TODAY WITH AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PRESIDENT. THIS MORNING WE WERE TOLD POLITELY THAT HE WAS VERY BUSY BUT WE ALREADY KNEW ABOUT THE TROUBLE BREWING IN THE CITY OF KATI.

    THE CIVILIANS ARE NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE PROTESTS OR THE VIOLENCE. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY SEEM VERY CONCERNED.

    UNLIKE WHAT WE SEE IN SYRIA AND OTHER PLACES, THE SITUATION HERE IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. FOR NOW, THINGS ARE PRETTY SERENE BUT GUNS ARE BEING USED BUT DON'T FORGET THAT IT IS SOLDIERS AGAINST SOLDIERS. FIGHTING EACH OTHER WITH COMPARABLE WEAPONS.
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