Foiled putsch took place on the night between May 11 and May 12, ruling junta announces, adding the soldiers were "supported by a Western state."

Security has been stepped up at checkpoints on the roads leaving the capital, Bamako, in an effort to catch accomplices, says Mali.
Security has been stepped up at checkpoints on the roads leaving the capital, Bamako, in an effort to catch accomplices, says Mali. (AFP Archive)

The Malian government headed by a two-time coup leader has announced that security forces thwarted a countercoup attempt that it said was supported by an unnamed "Western government."

The purported foiled putsch took place on the night between May 11 and May 12, the junta that took power in an August 2020 coup said in a statement on Monday.

"These soldiers were supported by a Western state," said the statement signed by the government spokesperson, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga.

"The government of the Republic of Mali condemns with the utmost rigour this outrageous attack on state security, the purpose of which is to hinder — or even annihilate — the substantial efforts to secure our country and return to a constitutional order that guarantees peace and stability," the statement continued.

The news release did not name the country it was accusing. However, relations with former coloniser France have deteriorated significantly, prompting the French military to begin a withdrawal of its forces that had spent nine years fighting militants.

The government news release, also read by Maiga on state television, gave few details but said security forces had put down the coup last on Wednesday night. It added that security had been stepped up at checkpoints on the roads leaving the capital, Bamako, in an effort to catch accomplices.

The announcement was the latest turmoil to unfold in Mali, where Colonel Assimi Goita led coups in 2020 and 2021 before becoming president of the West African nation.

READ MORE: Mali cuts defence ties with France over security 'violations'

Leaving regional task force 

On Sunday, Mali said it was dropping out of a five-nation regional security force known as the G5 Sahel task force.

And last month it said it was permanently suspending French media outlets Radio France International and France 24, two of the most listened to news outlets in the West African country. 

Malian authorities accused RFI and France 24 of publishing false reports about abuses committed by Malian soldiers.

Mali's government also accused the French army of violating the country's airspace and denounced what it said was the unauthorised use of surveillance drones. Those allegations came after France released videos appearing to show Russian mercenaries burying bodies near an army base in northern Mali, which had been handed over by the French to Malian forces.

France and other nations sharply condemned the August 2020 overthrow of Mali's democratically elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Nine months later, Goita launched a second coup when he fired the country's interim civilian leaders and became president himself.

While the junta initially agreed to an 18-month transition back to civilian rule, it failed to organise elections by the deadline in February. Last month, the government said it would need two more years in power before it could organise a vote.

READ MORE: Mali withdraws from regional G5 Sahel force

Source: TRTWorld and agencies