In the chaotic hours between shots being fired at barracks outside Bamako and the president’s reluctant resignation, the first spoils of Tuesday’s coup in Mali fell to groups of young looters. An office chair, a water cooler and a TV stand were among items carted away from Justice Minister Kassoum Tapo’s house, according to footage shared on social media whose location was authenticated by a Reuters correspondent.
Nearby, revellers – some wearing face masks – splashed in a pool in a compound belonging to Karim Keita, a son of ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Meanwhile hundreds of protesters cheered a convoy of army pick-up trucks crammed with soldiers as they escorted the president and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse to the Kati barracks.
The crackle of celebratory gunfire blended with car horns, vuvuzelas and shouting as a huge crowd streamed into the central square, the site of months of anti-government protests against alleged corruption and security. “We are tired. The country is paralysed and I do not want this government,” said opposition supporter Ali Sylla.
“We have come out today to call for the total resignation of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita,” added another, Aboubacar Ibrahim Maiga. Smoke billowed from the justice ministry as young men lowered furniture to the ground from balconies strewn with broken glass.
In the evening, seeking to keep a lid on protests, state TV broadcast soap operas for several hours while heavily armed soldiers guarded the station’s headquarters before, hours later, Keita delivered a short resignation speech.
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