Food stocks low, fuel hard to find: Mali’s misfortunes worsen as al-Qaeda arrives

The Times

Mali’s two-week-old junta rejected international calls to relinquish power yesterday as sanctions intended to force the new regime to step down began to bite and Islamists cemented their grip in the country’s turbulent north.

In his first comments since the embargo was imposed, the coup leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, warned that the ousted president, Amadou Toumani Toure, could be charged with “high treason and financial wrongdoing”. He announced that a meeting to discuss Mali’s future would take place tomorrow.

Amid fears that Islamic extremists were taking advantage of the political upheaval, three of al-Qaeda’s leaders were said to have headed to the ancient trading city of Timbuktu, where Sharia was being imposed and women were being told to wear veils. Read the rest of this entry »


Fall of Timbuktu to rebels prompts fears for historic treasures

The Times

Rebels in Mali completed their capture of the biggest population centres in the north of the country yesterday by taking the historic trading town of Timbuktu.

Its capitulation, eight days after a coup by junior officers in the capital, Bamako, which overthrew the democratically elected Government, marks the latest gain in a three-day advance by the Tuareg rebels. The junta said that it was seeking to negotiate a peace deal with the rebels and sent representatives to discuss a ceasefire.

The Tuareg forces, thought to be about 1,000, have exploited the uncertainty caused by the overthrow of the Government of President Amadou Toumani Touré, which has left the army with no clear chain of command. Read the rest of this entry »


Mali à l’aise

The Economist

Mali’s coup leaders tighten their hold but inspire little confidence

IF ANYONE knows what is happening in Mali, it should be Captain Amadou Sanogo. Sliding forward on the shiny beige sofa into which he has sunk, he insists that things are moving “as I want. Moving as I prepared…allowing me to engage, to start with my processes.” Yet the 40-year-old officer with a sandpaper rasp seems to be putting a brave face on what looks, in fact, like an accidental coup that was almost invited by the government it toppled. Read the rest of this entry »


Mali’s Coup Leader: Interview with an Improbable Strongman

TIME.com

Captain Amadou Sanogo does not sound or look like the man in charge. But he is now the only show in town in a country beset by multiple crises

Under a sickle moon a large man with dreadlocks, a sparkling purple cloak and white moccasins climbed the stairs of the house that has become Mali’s new nerve-center. He was a marabout — a West Africa holy man — summoned by the 40-year-old army captain everyone in Kati is now calling le President. The new power in Mali is Amadou Sanogo, a career soldier whose improbable coup d’etat has upturned one of Africa’s strongest democracies. On Monday night he sought strength from the spirit world. He needs whatever help he can get. Read the rest of this entry »


Leader of military junta aims to restore Mali’s army

The Times

The leader of the military junta that seized power in Mali last week has told The Times that his priority is restoring the nation’s army, reeling after a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of Tuareg rebels, and turn it into a force for stability across West Africa’s Sahel region.

In an interview at his headquarters in the cantonment town of Kati, Captain Amadou Sanogo said that if he can “get a better life for my soldiers, I get a well-prepared army, I get a proficient army ready to serve my country, to serve the Sahel region”, he would consider his leadership a sucess.

However, as he was speaking about 1,000 protesters took to the streets of Bamako, the capital, chanting “Down with Sanogo” and demanding the restoration of democracy. Mali had been due to hold elections next month. Read the rest of this entry »


As the U.S. and al-Qaeda Watch Mali’s Phony Peace, Tension Mounts in Timbuktu

TIME.com

Several interested parties await the outcome as a once-healthy democracy descends into conflict between military mutineers and their president

Pick-ups packed with soldiers zoomed toward the maize-colored building that houses the State broadcaster as rumors flew of more civil strife in Mali. There was a counter-coup. No, there wasn’t a counter-coup. The leader of the mutiny was dead. No, Capt. Amadou Sanogo would appear in a broadcast momentarily. Read the rest of this entry »


Mali-drama

The Economist

A coup in Mali

AS THOUSANDS of inhabitants of Mali’s normally sleepy capital, Bamako, flooded south over the Bridge of Martyrs to the comparative safety of the River Niger’s right bank on Wednesday afternoon, a man in a flowing robe and skull cap cut a stubborn figure as he walked the other way. “This is how civil wars start,” he said after a Kalashnikov round whipped overhead. Read the rest of this entry »


West’s ally in volatile region is rocked by soldier’s revolt

The Times

Within 24 hours Mali’s stable democracy has reached the brink of civil war, reports Julius Cavendish in Bamako

Mali was on the brink of civil war last night after mutinous soldiers led by a cadre of young officers seized the capital, Bamako, but failed to corner President Touré, who regrouped outside the city with a crack unit of paratroopers.

The renegade soldiers, angered by the Government’s failure to arm them to fight Tuareg rebels, stormed the presidential palace overnight, arresting senior members of the Cabinet.

Some troops fuelled by alcohol then went on a rampage, looting the palace, which bestrides limestone cliffs overlooking the centre of Bamako, and carting off flat-screen televisions, computer monitors and photocopiers. Read the rest of this entry »


Mali: Big Trouble in a Poor Country Awash in Post-Gaddafi Weapons

TIME.com

Renegade soldiers claim to have overthrown the government as the president claims otherwise. Meanwhile, rebels armed with Libyan firepower watch and wait

To the clatter of gunfire and under the cover of darkness the president who ushered Mali into an unprecedented era of multiparty democracy fled the West African country’s sleepy capital Bamako last night as an army mutiny rapidly escalated into a full-blown coup attempt. The renegade soldiers had claimed to have seized the country after storming the presidential palace during the night. But President Amadou Toumani Toure’s reappearance at a nearby military cantonment, apparently at the head of a crack bodyguard of ‘Red Beret’ paratroopers, now leaves Mali on the brink of a civil war — apart dealing with the thorny Tuareg rebellion that helped precipitate the military uprising. In less than 24 hours one of Africa’s most stable democracies has turned upside down. Read the rest of this entry »


Mutiny in Mali: On the Ground as Soldiers Target the Government in Bamako

TIME.com

In one direction sped a tan-colored ambulance, red crescent glistening on its side as it wailed north across the Bamako’s Bridge of Martyrs toward the sound of gunfire. In the other came people. Hundreds, if not thousands of them, women with their market goods bundled atop their heads, young men talking little and walking quickly, green buses packed with young and old, escaping the army mutiny that shattered the peace of Mali’s laid-back capital. Read the rest of this entry »


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