Mali president dismisses coup speculation

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on

Sunday rejected as speculation talk of a military coup after recent jihadist

attacks left dozens of soldiers dead near the border with Burkina Faso.

Keita said lessons would be learned after 38 soldiers were killed in two

attacks last week, a death toll that observers say is probably an

underestimate.

No military coup will prevail in Mali, let it be said, the president said

in remarks recorded Saturday and released on Sunday. And I don't think this

is on the agenda at all and cannot worry us, he added.

Also on Sunday, the UN mission MINUSMA said one peacekeeper was killed and

five others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in the northeast of

the former French colony.

The peacekeepers were carrying out a security patrol near the town of

Aguelhok when the device detonated, spokesman Olivier Salgado said on

Twitter.

Keita said after the attacks last Monday and Tuesday in the central towns

of Boulkessy and Mondoro that the semi-desert country was at war.

What happened at Boulkessy could unfortunately happen again, Keita said

of the attacks, which evoked memories of a 2012 army coup in Mali.

The assailants used heavily armed vehicles in the raids on the two military

camps, during which the government said troops killed 15 jihadists.

The jihadists made off with a large quantity of arms, ammunition and

equipment local media said about 20 vehicles were captured, including some

mounted with machine guns.

Sources said Malian special forces and foreign allies, including French

warplanes and helicopters, helped to quash the attacks.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)