Mali declared late Monday that its security forces had foiled a coup attempt backed by an unknown Western country.
Colonel Assimi Goita led coups in 2020 and 2021 before becoming president, and the declaration was the latest in a series of upheavals in the West African country.
“These soldiers were supported by a Western state,” said government spokesperson Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga on state television.
He did not say which country it was. However, during Goita’s leadership, relations with erstwhile coloniser France have worsened substantially.
The French military began withdrawing its personnel after nine years of combating insurgents as a result of the collapse in relations.
The government condemned “with the utmost rigour this outrageous attack,” Maiga said.
“The substantial efforts to secure our country and return to a constitutional system that guarantees peace and stability have been hampered or even annihilated,” he continued.
Last Wednesday night, Maiga stated, security forces put down the coup attempt.
In order to catch accomplices, security was reinforced at checkpoints on the roadways exiting Bamako and at the country’s border, he added.
Foreign influence charges arose as Goita’s leadership was becoming increasingly isolated.
The administration had stated a day before that Mali would leave the G-5, a five-nation regional security force, and that it would permanently prohibit French media outlets Radio France International and France 24, two of the country’s most popular news outlets.
Authorities have accused RFI and France 24 of fabricating allegations about Malian soldiers abusing civilians.
Mali’s government also accused the French army of violating the country’s airspace and condemned the unauthorised use of surveillance drones, according to the government.
Those accusations came after France published footage purporting to show Russian mercenaries burying remains near an army base handed up to Malian soldiers by the French.
The toppling of Mali’s democratically elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, in August 2020 was strongly condemned by France and other countries.
Goita conducted a second coup nine months later, firing the country’s temporary civilian government and declaring himself president.
Despite agreeing to an 18-month transition back to civilian administration, the junta failed to hold elections by the February deadline.
The government announced last month that it would require two more years in power before holding a poll.