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Ex-Mali coup leader Sanogo moving out of barracks

Wednesday - 10/9/2013, 12:00pm  ET

BABA AHMED
Associated Press

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Mali's former coup leader is leaving his longtime military camp and will be taking up residence in a neighborhood reserved for former government leaders, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The announcement by Lt. Mohamed Bou Coulibaly comes after widespread speculation in local media about where Amadou Sanogo would live after recently being promoted from army captain to a 4-star general.

Sanogo is expected to leave the Kati barracks by the end of the week and will be living near the home of former transitional president Dioncounda Traore in a Bamako neighborhood reserved for former top government officials, Coulibaly said.

"Unofficially Gen. Sanogo is the military adviser to the president so it's better that Sanogo is near him in Bamako," Coulibaly said.

Sanogo, who seized power in a March 2012 coup and later handed over authority to a civilian transitional government, was promoted to a 4-star general in August just before newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita took office. Sanogo's exact role within the military and the new government has been unclear, though one presidential aide denied Coulibaly's claims that that the ex-coup leader was serving as a presidential adviser.

"Sanogo does not have the status of being a former head of state but it's true that in order to provide security while waiting to find a base for him, it's preferable that he stay there," Mahamadou Camara, the cabinet director at the Malian presidency, said of the area in Bamako reserved for former government leaders.

Sanogo launched his 2012 coup from the Kati military barracks, and the camp again was rocked by unrest last week when mutinous soldiers shot an army colonel and held him captive for hours. The disgruntled soldiers demanded to speak to Sanogo himself, angered over being denied promotions they said they had been promised.

The new 4-star general remains a highly divisive figure in Mali, where human rights groups say he should face trial for abuses committed by his forces during their brief rule.


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