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In Mali, shots heard at the Kati military base, near Bamako

Shots were heard Friday, July 22 at dawn in Kati, a garrison town in the inner suburbs of Bamako, the heart of the Malian military apparatus and place of residence of the president of the transition, Colonel Assimi Goïta, noted a AFP journalist as well as local residents. The French Embassy warned its nationals by SMS of a “ongoing attack in Kati”recommending caution.

“It was around 5 a.m. that unidentified armed men attacked the town of Kati”told AFP a resident contacted by telephone, preferring to remain anonymous for security reasons. “We were woken up by shots at 5 a.m. and the sound of explosions, we don’t know what’s going on”confirmed another resident, as did a third living in this garrison town: “Our camp is under attack”he said.

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A deployment of Malian special forces was visible at 8 a.m. and two army helicopters were flying in the sky, noted an AFP journalist, who also heard detonations inside the camp. The cause of the shootings, the detonations and the deployment of soldiers was not clear and the local authorities could not be contacted immediately.

Starting point of many coups

Kati is home to Mali’s main military base. It is also where the main Malian military authorities live, in particular the president of the transition, Colonel Assimi Goïta, and his defense minister, Colonel Sadio Camara. Both studied in Kati, from where many coups in Mali started.

In 2020, with three other officers, the colonels seized power by force in Kati. Gunshots had been heard in the camp, then the soldiers had “descended” to Bamako. In the past, those arrested – President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August 2020, President and Prime Minister Bah Ndaw and Moctar Ouane in 2021 – have been systematically taken to and held in the Kati camp.

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The Kati military base has never been the target of a jihadist attack. On the other hand, six simultaneous attacks took place on Thursday in central Mali and in the Koulikoro region, near Bamako. At dawn, at the same time as the shootings on Friday, armed men identified by the army as members of the Katiba Macina, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, attacked checkpoints, a gendarmerie and a military camp in six coordinated attacks, including one in the locality of Kolokani, about a hundred kilometers north of Bamako.

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The World with AFP

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