Mali's junta has claimed it is in control of the country after renegade soldiers attempted an overnight counter-coup intended to reinstate the ousted president to power.
The military junta that took charge of Mali in a recent coup said it had defeated a counter-coup attempt. The junta on Tuesday claimed to control the airport in the capital, Bamako, the state TV and radio station and their headquarters at the Kati army barracks.
However, it was unclear whether the fighting had come to an end at midday as gunfire could still be heard in Bamako.
The junta blamed foreigners for the violence.
"Foreign elements backed by dark forces from inside the country carried out these attacks," said a soldier on behalf of coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo on state television on Tuesday.
The fighting is believed to have started after junta loyalists attempted to arrest the former head of the presidential guard.
Neighboring states plan to send troops
Just over five weeks ago, renegade Malian soldiers seized power from President Amadou Toumani Toure, criticizing him for his handling of an ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the country's north. West African regional bloc ECOWAS later signed a deal with coup leader Amadou Haya Sanogo to return Mali to constitutional order, allowing the junta to maintain a supervisory role during the transition.
The agreement had the junta handing over power for 40 days to a civilian government before elections by the end of May. Former parliamentary speaker Dioncounda Traore was sworn in as interim president in April.
Leaders at an ECOWAS summit in Ivory Coast on Thursday reneged on part of that agreement, announcing plans to send ECOWAS troops to Mali to protect the offices of the president and prime minister. They also said the interim government should have up to 12 months to prepare for the elections.
ncy, acb/pfd (AP, AFP)