Mali has arrested the suspects after declaring the coup attempt a failure

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BAMAKO, Mali – Malian authorities have arrested suspects after the ruling junta announced it had foiled a coup attempt backed by an unnamed Western government.

An official statement said security forces had foiled a counter-coup against two-time coup leader Colonel Asimi Goita.

On Tuesday, the military said authorities had arrested the suspects who were being questioned.

Colonel Solomon Dembele, a spokesman for the Mali army, said: “At the moment, the detainees are being investigated and interrogated, and details will be released to the public as soon as this is done.”

Earlier on Tuesday, a list of suspected Malian military personnel was leaked to the intelligence community, according to a Malian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

“These troops were supported by a Western state,” the initial announcement of the failed coup said. A statement from the junta on Monday night quoted government spokesman Colonel Abdullah as saying that security forces had “suppressed” the coup last week.

News of a failed counter-coup comes as Mali faces domestic political uncertainty and international isolation as the ruling junta announces it wants to stay in power longer than previously announced.

Mali’s relations with former colonial France have deteriorated significantly under the rule of Goita, who led the coup in 2020 and again in 2021 when the interim government showed signs of independence. Goita then declared himself president of the West African country and recently said that his junta would remain in power for another two years.

Earlier this year, Goethe ordered the withdrawal of French troops. France later announced it would withdraw an estimated 5,000 troops after fighting the country’s Islamic extremist rebels for nine years.

Allegations of foreign interference came as Goethe’s regime gradually disintegrated within West Africa. Earlier this week, Mali announced that it was pulling out of a five-nation regional counter-terrorism force known as the G5 because it felt other members had not accepted the force’s rotating leadership.

According to Brehima Deco, a Malian analyst and researcher at Bamako University, the long transition period and Mali’s growing regional and international isolation create a favorable environment for efforts to destabilize the junta.

“Mali could be called the first transformation in 18 months, which was widely agreed by Malian and countries in the region, such as ECOWAS, after the first coup in 2020. So from this moment on, there could be other military personnel who could try the coup,” he said. It is also possible that disgruntled soldiers who served under former President Ibrahim Bobakar Keita may feel isolated and want to stage a coup to return to their former leadership. “

After taking power in 2020, Goethe’s junta initially agreed to an 18-month change to return to civilian rule, but it failed to hold elections in February. Last month, the government said it would take another two years in power before holding a vote.

Deco said the country that the Malian government has identified as Western cannot be France.

“Even if there is real tension between France and Mali, this western country mentioned in the government statement could be any country that wants to position itself in Sahel’s geopolitics,” he added.

France and other countries have strongly condemned the overthrow of democratically elected President Keita of Mali in August 2020 and the second coup of Goita just nine months later.

This is not the first attempt to destabilize Mali’s ruling junta. Last year, a man with a knife tried to cut Goiter’s throat while he was attending Tabaski prayers at a large mosque in the capital, Bamako.

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