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A First-Hand Account Of The Beginning Of A Military Coup In Mali

•, Joseph Odhiambo
 The dark horizon was backlit by flickers of red, yellow and orange. The sounds that had been muffled earlier echoed back into my room on the fourth floor of my hotel, amplifying loud voices, heavy engines, and the repeat of gunfire.

It was my third day in Bamako. Earlier in the evening, Africable television reported that the Malian government was overthrown, following a rebellion in the military barracks led by junior officers, and fighting continued throughout the capital.

I searched unsuccessfully for other information, but, the state broadcaster, ORTM, continued to repeat recordings of traditional Malian music, interspersed with patterns and followed by a terse message in black and white: “In a moment, a declaration by the military.”

The electricity abruptly cut off shortly before the impending announcement. I had no idea when power would be restored and I began to shut down the only connections to my home inCanada by turning off my cell phone and laptop until they were absolutely necessary.

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