News

    After Coup, Mali Tuaregs Fear Discrimination

    Nancy Palus

    In Mali's capital, Bamako, people from Tuareg and Arab ethnic groups say the soldiers who seized power vowing to lead a more robust response to the Tuareg rebellion must work to avoid renewed discrimination against civilians from these communities.  

    Even if Malians were frustrated over what many saw as poor handling of the Tuareg rebellion by the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré, people commended the government’s efforts to spread the message not to equate Tuareg civilians or other light-skinned groups with the rebels.

    Protecting rights

    Now some Tuareg and Arabs in the capital, Bamako, question whether the soldiers looking to seize power will make it a priority to ensure the rights and protection of these populations.

    Even though many Tuareg - one of Mali’s numerous ethnic groups - are in the Malian army and on the front lines against the rebels - there have been reprisal attacks against Tuareg civilians since the latest rebel uprising in January.  But that calmed considerably after a broad campaign against such prejudice, led by government and civil society groups.

    One man, a Tuareg living in Bamako, did not want to give his name for his own security.  Since the military uprising started on Wednesday, he says he has heard troubling reports.

    "Throughout the day on Wednesday," he said, "we heard rumors that the soldiers who rose up against the government blame some Tuareg officials in the army for defeats the army has suffered in the north, and that the military no longer wants to work alongside them."  He added, "If it turns out this sentiment is real, this would be a huge worry for Tuareg civilians.  We would feel quite threatened."

    The man says he wants some reassurance right away from the new authorities.

    "We want the new authorities to take into account these concerns on the part of the Tuareg community," he said. He says they must call on the population to prevent any repeat of tensions that arose in February, when Tuareg goods and businesses in and around Bamako were attacked.

    One Arab in Bamako who is from northern Mali told VOA, “Light-skinned people are pretty scared right now,” he said.  He did not want to speak further by telephone, or have his voice recorded.  

    Waiting for clues

    Sidi Ali Ould Bagna is president of the Association of Youth from the Sahel.  He told VOA it is too soon to reach conclusions about the coup, and that it will be important to watch the initial moves and pronouncements of the new military leaders.

    "We have to wait and see what the new authorities’ vision and true motives are," he said.  What is sure, he adds, is that "they absolutely must work to ensure that inter-community tensions don’t emerge again."

    A university student from the northeastern Gao region pointed out that many Tuareg who fled Bamako in February have not yet returned.

    Before midday Thursday gunfire could still be heard throughout Bamako, prompting speculation by some residents that there might be an effort to launch a counter-coup by soldiers loyal to President Touré.  In this situation of uncertainty, people from the Tuareg community have particular concerns.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora