The soldier who led a coup that ousted Mali’s government and paved the way for a sweeping Islamist offensive has been summoned to appear in court over alleged violence involving men under his command.
A judicial source said on Thursday that the intention was to question Amadou Sanogo about “the deaths in the last mutiny against him”, adding that he would also be questioned “on all violence in recent times”, of which his men have been accused.
“The police on Thursday received a summons from the Malian courts for General Amadou Sanogo. According to the procedure, the notice shall be addressed to the Malian Ministry of Defence, which in turn, will inform General Sanogo of the summons,” said a source at a police station in the capital, Bamako.
About 20 officers, including Sanogo’s former deputy, were arrested. Sanogo led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22 last year, upending what had been considered one of West Africa’s flagship democracies.
The bodies of three missing soldiers were subsequently discovered in and around the Kati barracks, relatives told AFP news agency.
It was not immediately clear when Sanogo was due to appear in court.
Sanogo’s controversial rise
Sanogo was controversially promoted from captain to lieutenant-general in August, prompting fellow ex-junta members also seeking promotion to mutiny earlier this month at his former headquarters, a barracks near Bamako, and forcing the army to intervene.
The mutiny precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Islamist fighters linked to al-Qaeda, but a military intervention by French and African troops in January chased the rebels from the region’s main cities.
The coup also deepened a rift within the army between the Red Berets, loyal to Toure, and the Green Berets, who were broadly pro-junta, and Sanogo was implicated in the disappearances of Red Berets after a failed counter-coup on April 30 last year.
In the months that followed the March coup, the Kati barracks was the site of numerous atrocities allegedly committed by Sanogo’s men against military considered loyal to the ousted president.
Sanogo has since moved from Kati to the capital and Mali’s new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has vowed that Bamako is “no longer going to live in fear of Kati”.