Mali government claims coup thwarted

·1-min read

Mali's military government says its forces have captured 49 soldiers who had come into the country from neighbouring Ivory Coast with the intention of staging a coup.

Terming the soldiers "mercenaries," the Malian authorities said they had landed in Bamako, the capital, on Sunday without permission. The soldiers were carrying weapons, ammunition and other military equipment, they said.

The soldiers had "forced their way into Malian territory illegally," the Malian military government said. It added that, on being contacted, the government of Ivory Coast had denied all knowledge of the soldiers.

Since 2012, there have been three coups in Mali, a country of around 20 million inhabitants.

The country has been ruled by a transitional military government since the last coup in May last year. It is reported to enjoy close links with Russia. The government has pledged to hold elections by March 2024.

Islamist terrorist groups have for years mounted attacks in the country. The United Nations maintains the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in the country, a multinational force set up in 2013.

The European Union's EUTM military training mission set up the same year has largely suspended its activities.

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