The Mali government has said it has foiled a counter-coup attempt

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BAMAKO, Mali – The Malian government, led by a two-time coup leader, announced late Monday that security forces had foiled a counter-coup attempt that it said was backed by an unnamed Western government.

The announcement was the latest unrest in Mali, where Colonel Asimi Goita led coups in 2020 and 2021 before becoming president of the West African country.

The name of the accused country was not mentioned in the press release. However, relations with the former colonial France deteriorated significantly during Goethe’s rule, prompting the French military to begin withdrawing its forces that had been fighting Islamic extremists for nine years.

“These troops were supported by a Western state,” government spokesman Col. Abdullah Maiga said in a statement.

“The Government of the Republic of Mali strongly condemns this heinous attack on state security, which aims to thwart – or even destroy” significant efforts to secure our country and guarantee peace and stability in order to return to a constitutional order. “

The official news release, which was also read by Maiga on state television, gave some details but said security forces had repressed the coup last Wednesday night. It added that security had been beefed up at checkpoints on the way out of the capital Bamako in an attempt to apprehend collaborators.

Allegations of foreign interference came as Goethe’s regime gradually disintegrated. A day earlier, an official spokesman announced that Mali, known as the G5, was being dropped from a five-nation regional security force.

And last month it said it was permanently suspending French media outlets Radio France International and France 24, the two most listened news outlets in the West African country. Malian authorities have accused RFI and France 24 of publishing false reports about torture by Malian soldiers.

The Mali government has also accused the French military of violating the country’s airspace and condemned it as an unauthorized use of surveillance drones. The allegations come after France released a video showing bodies being buried near an army base in northern Mali, which the French handed over to Malian forces.

France and other countries have strongly condemned the overthrow of Mali’s democratically elected president, Ibrahim Bobakar Keita, in August 2020. Nine months later, Goita launched a second coup when he fired the country’s interim civilian leaders and became president himself.

Although the junta initially agreed to an 18-month return to civilian rule, it failed to hold elections in February. Last month, the government said it would take another two years in power before holding a vote.

Crista Larson, an Associated Press writer in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report.

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