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Mali: Citizens Stunned by Sudden Military Coup

Renegade soldiers have announced that they are seizing power in Mali, after taking over the state television building and presidential palace.

They say President Amadou Toumani Touré's government failed to adequately support their troops in an increasingly violent struggle with Tuareg rebels in the north of the country who threaten to seek secession from Mali.

Many citizens are perplexed as to why a coup is being staged so soon ahead of already scheduled elections on April 29, 2012, and there are many theories.

The leader of the coup in Mali Capitaine Sanogo via @Youngmalian

Capitaine Sanogo is the leader of the new National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State (CNRDR) who say they will pilot the transition until the elections in April.

A spokesman of the committee, Lieutenant Kanoré stated that although they have dissolved the current institutions, they have no intention of holding on to power. Fights between soldiers who support the coup and others that remain loyal to President Touré are still ongoing.

Some politicians and high-ranking officers have reportedly been arrested in Bamako, the capital city.

Malians citizens are a bit stunned by the turn of events. Here are some reactions after learning of the power grab by the armed mutiny [fr and en]:

@TheSalifou: J'ai peur pour mon pays…#Mali

@TheSalifou: I am scared for my country…#Mali

@Anniepayep: vraiment! La honte! RT @juliusessoka En Afrique, sortir de l'auberge donne sur les caniveaux. #Mali #PauvrePays

@Anniepayep: Really, Shameful RT @juliusessoka In Africa, you come out of the restaurant to end in the gutter #mali

@Abdou_Diarra: Le président malien Amadou Toumani Touré, irait bien et serait « en lieu sûr », selon un militaire loyaliste #Mali

@Abdou_Diarra: The Malian president Amadou Toumani Touré is allegedly well and is staying in a safe location according to a loyal soldier #Mali

@Youngmalian: #ATT a été élu démocratiquement par le peuple et son mandat se termine en Juin. de quel droit les militaires agissent au nom du peuple #Mali

@Youngmalian ATT (Mali's president) was democratically elected by the people and his mandate was over in June. What rights do the soldiers have to act on behalf of the people #Mali

@ibiriti: democracy is not just about regular elections replacing one incompetent lot with another. it has to deliver goods

@philinthe_: Banks + petrol stations closed in #Bamako #Mali. Talking to taxi drivers who are asking double their normal price. Sotrama still 100-150CFA

@temite: Whatever happens, the loser will inevitably be that unity, fraternal bond between peoples & cultures #Mali

Conspiracy theories abound as to why a coup is being staged only few weeks before the scheduled elections [fr]:

@diatus2: le coup d'état était prévisible au #mali car ATT laissant durer la rebellion touareg pour avoir un 3e mandat

@diatus2: The coup in #Mali was expected because ATT (Mali's president) was letting the situation with the tuareg rebels linger so he could bring a third mandate

@Giovannidjossou: #ATT ne faisait rien contre les #terroristes au nord #Mali car ces troubles lui permettaient de repousser les #élections de juin prochain !

@Giovannidjossou:#ATT (Mali's president) isn't doing anything against the terrorists in the north of Mali because the troubles would allow him to postpone the elections until next June!

@Joe_1789: JE DENONCE: Le coup d'Etat ourdi par des bandits armés, à la solde de la Françafrique, contre le Mali et son président démocratiquement élu.

@Joe_1789: I denounce: This coup that was conceived by armed bandits who are sell-outs of Francophone Africa, against Mali and its democratically elected president

The Twitter account of the Malian presidency has not been updated since March 21 when it refuted the alleged power grab [fr]:

@PresidenceMali: Démenti formel : Le Ministre de la Défense n'est ni blessé ni arrêté. Il est à son bureau où il poursuit calmement sa journée de travail

@PresidenceMali: Formal denial: The Minister of Defence is neither hurt nor arrested. He is at his desk and calmly attending to his daily tasks

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