Mali late on Monday announced that security forces had thwarted a countercoup attempt that it said was supported by an unnamed Western government.
The announcement was the latest turmoil to unfold in the West African nation, where Colonel Assimi Goita led coups in 2020 and 2021 before becoming president.
“These soldiers were supported by a Western state,” said government spokesperson Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga on state television.
He did not name the country in question.
However, relations with former coloniser France have deteriorated significantly under Goita’s rule.
The breakdown in relations prompted the French military to begin a withdrawal of its forces that had spent nine years fighting Islamic extremists.
The government condemned "with the utmost rigour this outrageous attack," Maiga said.
The attempt was meant "to hinder - or even annihilate - the substantial efforts to secure our country and return to a constitutional order that guarantees peace and stability,” he continued.
Maiga said security forces had put down the coup last Wednesday night.
Security was increased at checkpoints on the roads leaving the capital, Bamako, and at the country's border in an effort to catch accomplices, he added.
The accusations of foreign interference came as Goita’s regime is becoming increasingly isolated.
A day earlier, the government announced that Mali was dropping out of a five-nation regional security force known as the G-5 and last month it said it was permanently suspending French media outlets Radio France International and France 24, two of the most listened to news outlets in the country.
Authorities accused RFI and France 24 of publishing false reports about abuses committed by Malian soldiers.
Mali’s government also accused the French army of violating the country’s airspace and denounced what it said was the unauthorised use of surveillance drones.
Those allegations came after France released videos appearing to show Russian mercenaries burying bodies near an army base which had been handed over by the French to Malian forces.
France and other nations sharply condemned the August 2020 overthrow of Mali’s democratically elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Nine months later, Goita launched a second coup when he fired the country’s interim civilian leaders and became president himself.
While the junta initially agreed to an 18-month transition back to civilian rule, it failed to organise elections by the deadline in February.
Last month, the government said it would need two more years in power before it could organise a vote.
Additional sources • AP