Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the ongoing military coup in Mali, announced Friday he has no intention of retaining his hold on power. Sanogo claims he will hold presidential elections once he ensures the military is equipped to combat Tuareg anti-government forces in Mali’s restive north. “We are not here to confiscate any power but we are here to have an army and security forces available to assume the nation security,” Sanogo told the BBC. “So once this has been fixed, I’ll be able to say ‘Ok, go for an election’ in a short period of time. I promise.” Sanogo also told reporters that democratically-elected President Amadou Toumani Toure and members of the government are safe and have not been harmed. “These people are safe and sound. We will not touch a hair on their heads. I will hand them over to the courts so that the Malian people know the truth,” he said.
The exact location of Toumani Toure remains unknown. However government officials assure that he is not being held by coup leaders and is surrounded by his elite presidential guard. Some reports say he is in a military barracks in Bamako, the capital, but this has not been confirmed.
The Wednesday coup, which now calls itself the Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and Restoration of the State, broke out after a mutiny during the defense minister’s tour of an army barracks nine miles outside of Bamako. Soldiers then attacked and looted the presidential palace late Wednesday night.