Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure who was deposed last week on Wednesday in a military coup has told reporters he is still in the country and free.
“I am free and in my country,” Mr Toure told French radio station RFI.
Amadou Toumani Toure however refused to comment on whether he was being protected by loyal soldiers. Amadou Toumani Toure’s whereabouts had been unknown since last week’s coup
He was asked about his opinion of calls for him to return to the presidency, Mr Toure said: “The most important thing for me is not my own position.”What is important is democracy, institutions, and Mali.”
Unhappy soldiers over the governments handling of the Tuareg insurgency in the north organised a coup last week. The coup was however denounced by the international community, and regional bodies.
Regional neighbors like ECOWAS, said they were prepared to use sanctions and possible military force to dislodge Mali’s new army leaders, urging them to hand back power to civilians, while former colonial power France has suspended aid.
Thousands of demonstrators however chanted pro-junta slogans in Mali’s capital on Wednesday, protesting against the threats of foreign powers to use sanctions to force the leaders of last week’s military coup to step down.
“I want the international community to shut up. This is our revolution,” said youth leader Oumar Diara at the rally – the largest in Bamako since Toure was ousted.
“We, the youth, can live without the international community. We have been living with our eyes closed but now we are waking up,” he said.
Mean while the new leaders have come up with a new constitution hastily written by the coup leaders.
The 69-article constitution includes many of the guarantees of the former law, including the guarantees of free speech, liberty of movement and freedom of thought. New measures include the creation of a military-led council headed by Sanogo. It says that the new head of state is simultaneously the head of the army, the head of the government and the head of the judiciary.
The middle and final sections set out the role of the military committee now controlling the country, which calls itself the National Committee for the Reestablishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State.
The new constitution says that the committee will be made up of 26 soldiers or police and 15 civilians. Those asked to serve on the committee will receive immunity and cannot be tried at a later time.