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 »
To cries of Allahu akbar and the din of heavy weaponry looted from Colonel Gaddafi’s arsenals, Tuareg rebels rode out of the desert on January 17 to attack the flyblown town of Ménaka in eastern Mali.
The veiled warriors, historically known as the Blue Men because of their distinctive flowing indigo robes and black headscarves, struck at dawn, their armoured column approaching army and National Guard posts, sending the government troops fleeing.
In successive months they waged a lightning brand of desert warfare, striking on multiple fronts and humiliating the Malian Army with a series of defeats. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »