BAMAKO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Gunshots were heard on Friday morning at a camp of red berets in the Malian capital Bamako in another sign of instability suffered by the West African country since a coup in March 2012.
The gunshots were fired by officers from the ground forces (green berets) of the national guard who wanted to dislodge the red berets from their camp, according to witnesses.
A resident, who lives near the camp of the 33rd brigade of the paratroopers who are commonly known as red berets, said, "Upon arrival by the security forces to dislodge them, there were some red berets in the camp."
Early in the week, Mali's chief of general staff, general Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele, had asked the red berets to leave their camp, due to the state of emergency that prohibits any groupings.
The flare was linked to a disagreement on the night of April 30, 2012, when the forces allied to the ex-junta and the red berets clashed.
"The red berets have not been sacked from the army. To prove this, some of them are currently on the frontline fighting against the Islamists, but their brigade is no longer operational. We have redeployed them to other units and they should respect this decision," Dembele said. "Soldiers must always be disciplined," he noted.
As for the red berets officers, they insisted on their still being "part of their brigade" and that "they are ready to go and recapture the northern territories of Mali."
"The officers who have come to flush out the red berets have just entered the camp a few minutes ago," another resident told Xinhua on phone.
The resident said, "A number of the red berets have been injured, but it is difficult to know the exact number at the moment."