Fear of countercoup rises as Mali state TV goes off air
[Dawn] Television screens throughout the landlocked country of Mali went black on Friday, as residents near the building housing the state broadcaster said they saw troops erecting barricades fearing a possible countercoup.
Two days ago, mutinous soldiers seized control of the state television
... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
and radio stations, and announced a coup. The country's democratically elected president has not been heard from since.
Shots were heard ringing out on Friday from outside the broadcaster, and large numbers of soldiers were seen amassing outside. The signal flickered back on for some time, then again went off.
President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was tossed in this week's military takeover, is himself a seasoned soldier, who headed the country's parachute commando unit. There has been speculation that loyalist troops, especially those at the 33rd Parachute Infantry Regiment which Toure once belonged to, will attempt to take back power.
Contacted by telephone, resident Mohamed Traore said after the signal went dead, he went outside and saw the troops rushing to put up large defenses. He lives 300 yards from the broadcaster and says that when he went to speak to them, the soldiers told him that the red beret-wearing loyalists were planning an attack.
Freelance news hound Katarina Hoije, who is staying in the Laico Hotel which faces the broadcaster, said that she heard sporadic shots and saw troops arriving in large numbers outside the station.
is was considered one of the only functioning democracies in the region. This week's coup represents a major setback for the nation of 15.4 million at the feet of the Sahara desert.
Posted by: Fred