As Mali attempts to build a roadmap for a new political order, the streets of desert city Timbuktu are on high alert.
The concerns of the capital Bamako, after a military coup on August 18 ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, are still being felt.
"We must be vigilant because in such situations, the enemy lurking in the shadows could take advantage of negligence," said Colonel Boubacar Sanogoh, commander of Timbuktu's military zone.
Mali has struggled to contain a brutal Islamic insurgency since 2012, which has since spread to the centre of the country as well as neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in the conflict, which has also exacted a heavy economic toll on the already impoverished West African state.
Mali's military junta must name a new leader by Tuesday or it could face sanctions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The bloc has already closed Mali's border and banned trade.
"ECOWAS sanctions, however, do more harm to the people than to the government," said Aboubacrine Cissé, Mayor of Timbuktu.
The bloc has already closed Mali's border and banned trade, which has affected those in Timbuktu.
" It ( the border closure) created a lot of problems for us, because everything comes from outside. We don't have a factory here, we don't have anything, so when we close the borders it's a big problem for us," said shopkeeper Baba Wangara.
Mali's junta is trying to convince leaders to accepts its roadmap for a return to democracy.
Last week, it unveiled a political charter that could see a military officer heading a transitional government for 18 months.
But members of the M5-RFP, the main opposition coalition, oppose the proposition.