The leader of an attempted military coup in Mali was trained to be an officer in the United States by the Pentagon, U.S. News & World Report has learned.
Capt. Amadou Sanogo completed his basic officer training on U.S. soil, and participated in "several" other Washington-funded international military education programs, Patrick Barnes, a U.S. Africa command spokesman says. U.S. military personnel conducted Sanogo's basic officer training courses, Barnes confirms.
The Pentagon has suspended "any planned military equipment or training programs to the Malian military" while defense officials wait and see how the coup attempt plays out, Barnes says.
A senior Defense Department official said that all U.S. special operations forces in Mali are safe amid an attempt by Sanogo's rogue military forces to topple the east African nation's civilian government.
"We do have SOF personnel in country and they've ceased all activity," says a senior Pentagon official. "I don't know if they've departed, but as of [Thursday], they had not. Additionally, all were accounted for."
U.S. officials have condemned the coup and called for the restoration of Mali's civilian government.