Possible mutiny under way outside Mali capital, say Norwegian Embassy and security source

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BAMAKO — A possible military mutiny was under way on Tuesday outside Mail’s capital Bamako, the Norwegian Embassy and a security source said.

Local residents and security sources said there was gunfire at the army base in Kati, about 15 km (9 miles) outside Bamako, where a mutiny in 2012 led to a coup d’etat, although it was not immediately clear who was firing at whom.

“The embassy has been notified of mutiny in the Armed Forces and troops are on their way to Bamako. Norwegians should exercise caution and preferably stay at home until the situation is clear,” the Norwegian Embassy said in an alert to its citizens.

“Yes, mutiny. The military has taken up arms,” a security source said.

A source who handles security for non-governmental organizations in Mali said gunfire had also been heard near the prime minister’s office.

A military spokesman confirmed that gunshots were fired at the base in Kati, but said he did not have any further information.

A mutiny at the base led to a coup d’etat in 2012 that toppled then-President Amadou Toumani Toure and contributed to the fall of northern Mali to jihadist militants.

Opponents of the current president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, have led mass protests since June calling on Keita to resign over what they say are his failures to restore security and address corruption.

At least 14 people have been killed in the protests, according to the United Nations and human rights activists.

In a message to its citizens on Thursday morning, the French Embassy in Bamako said: “Because of serious unrest this morning, Aug. 18, in the city of Bamako, it is immediately recommended to remain at home.”

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo and Paul Lorgerie; Additional reporting by David Lewis in Nairobi and Aaron Ross in Dakar; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by John Stonestreet and Alison Williams)