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Exchange of gunfire at Mali's presidential palace: witnesses

AFP
21 March 2012 | Mali
Malian soldiers gather on a street of Bamako.  By Habibou Kouyate (AFP)
Malian soldiers gather on a street of Bamako. By Habibou Kouyate (AFP)

BAMAKO (AFP) - Renegade Malian soldiers traded gunfire with troops outside the presidential palace on Wednesday night as others occupied the headquarters of the state broadcaster in an ongoing mutiny, witnesses told AFP.

"We are in control of the presidential palace. People are shooting towards us and we are returning fire," a member of the presidential guard told AFP via telephone.

One of the mutineers spoke to AFP as gunfire rang out in the background: "We are doing everything we can so that our demands are met."

Other witnesses near the palace confirmed the shooting was under way.

The presidential guard is made up of elite paratroopers known as "Red Berets", a unit loyal to President Amadou Toumani Toure who is himself a former soldier and is holed up inside the presidency, situated on a hill overlooking Bamako.

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