No fewer than four Malian soldiers have been reported dead and another sustaining severe injury after an explosive device was detonated in Koro region.
The explosion came hours after the United States government suspended cooperation with Mali’s military in response to overthrow of the president even after thousands gathered in the country’s capital, Bamako, to celebrate the junta’s takeover.
It was learnt that detonation of the explosive devices on Saturday halted activities in Koro, a town near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso, leaving several residents to scamper for safety.
As gathered, the explosion was said to have forced many to abandon their activities in fear that the military could have attacked the region after it putsch against President Ibrahim Keita, compelling the country’s leader to resign earlier in the week.
The US decision was said to have been reached after President Donald Trump disagreed like other international leaders with Keita’s removal and that the military involvement in governance could further destabilize the former French colony and West Africa’s entire Sahel region.
Confirming the US government stance, the Sahel envoy, Peter Pham, told newsmen that the regular training has been halted and that efforts were still been made to access where the present administration would be classed.
He said: “Let me say categorically there is no further training or support of Malian armed forces full-stop. We have halted everything until such time as we can clarify the situation”.
Pham said a decision on whether Washington would designate the actions a coup, which could trigger a cut-off of direct support to the government, had to go through a legal review. A Pentagon spokesperson referred on Friday to the events as an act of mutiny.
The United States regularly provides training to soldiers in Mali, including several of the officers who led the coup. It also offers intelligence support to France’s Barkhane forces, who are there to fight affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State.
It would be recalled that after the military took over, citizens filled Independence Square in Bamako and sang several songs to express their support for the action.
“It’s a scene of joy. God delivered us from the hands of evil, we are happy, we are behind our army,” said a 59-year-old farmer who gave his name only as Souleymane.
Some protesters also showed their disapproval of different foreign powers. One sign had the words “Barkhane” and “MINUSMA” crossed out, the latter a reference to the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali.