Malian junta leader Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo speaks on April 3, 2012 at Kati military camp near Bamako. Several people have been killed in a gunfight between Malian junta troops and presidential guards loyal to deposed President Amadou Toumani Toure at the state broadcaster building.

“There were deaths” in the shootout in the capital Bamako after the presidential guard launched an effort to wrest back the the state broadcaster building, which has been held by junta troops since the March 22 coup, said an employee on Monday. However, he did not give an exact number of casualties. 

The sound of heavy gunfire rocked the center of the city near a military barracks, and the presidential guards also surrounded the airport and entered the state broadcaster building, which is the headquarters of the national TV and radio stations, witnesses said. 

“We were coming from the Mali district, we arrived at the airport and the soldiers (presidential guards) told us to leave immediately and we ran away,” a taxi driver said. 

On April 20, President Toure fled to Senegal after taking shelter in the Senegalese Embassy in Mali. 

Toure had been in hiding since late March after mutinous soldiers, led by Amadou Haya Sanogo, stormed the presidential palace and took control of government institutions. 

The military said it had overthrown Toure because his government had not done enough in the military campaign against separatist Tuareg rebels in the north. 

But in the wake of the coup, the Tuareg rebels have taken control of the entire northern desert region. 

Toure tendered his official resignation on April 8 to facilitate a deal signed by the junta chief and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediator Djibril Bassole to establish an interim government and restore constitutional rule. 

Mali’s interim leaders, President Dioncounda Traore and Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra, have been tasked with organizing elections and putting an end to the northern separatist rebellion. 




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