African Union Suspends Mali, Hears President Toure Safe

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping (l) and the acting Peace and Security Council Chairman, Nigerian Ambassador B. Paul Lolo brief reporters at African Union HQ, March 23, 2012
AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping (l) and the acting Peace and Security Council Chairman, Nigerian Ambassador B. Paul Lolo brief reporters at African Union HQ, March 23, 2012

The African Union has suspended Mali's membership and condemned the coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure. Our correspondent at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa reports several African leaders have been in touch with President Toure and are saying he is safe.

The African Union Peace and Security Council acted swiftly to suspend Mali from the 54-nation body two days after mutinous soldiers seized power in Bamako.  The suspension came even as Mali was holding the Peace and Security Council's rotating chairmanship.

But with Mali excluded from the deliberations, the acting chairman, Nigeria's AU Ambassador B. Paul Lolo read the Council's decision.

"Given the manner in which the mutineers in Mali have acted against a constitutional government, and consistent with the various instruments of the African Union and ECOWAS, [Economic Commission of West African States] the Council decided Mali should be suspended from further participation in all its activities until the effective restoration of constitutional order is achieved without delay," said Lolo.

The Tuareg uprising

  • Tuaregs are an ethnically Berber, nomadic people in West Africa's Sahel and Sahara regions.
  • Tuareg fighters have staged multiple uprisings in Mali and Niger for greater autonomy.
  • Current Mali rebellion began in January after Tuareg fighters returned from Libya, where they fought for Moammar Gadhafi.
  • The conflict has driven about 100,000 Malians to neighboring countries, internally displaced more than 90,000.
  • Losses to Tuaregs prompted soldiers' coup in Bamako Thursday March 22.
Source:Encyclopedia Brittanica, ICRC, France 24

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping told reporters two other West African heads of state, Benin's President Thomas Yayi Boni and Burkina Faso's President Blaise Campaore, were in touch with Mali's President Toure during the coup.  Ping said the two presidents had received assurances the deposed leader was safe.

"President Yayi Boni called him on 21st," said Ping. "At five o'clock he had a contact with President Campaore.  At that time he was sure he would defeat the insurgents.  Then he had another, three hours later, he had contact with Pesident Yayi Boni, and so on until the end when the palace was seized.  And then we have been told the president is safe, protected by certain number of loyalists."  

Ping told reporters he had information that President Toure is at an undisclosed location outside Bamako.

The AU's suspension of Mali is the latest note in a chorus of international condemnation of the Bamako coup.  The United Nations Security Council demanded the release of all detained Malian officials and the immediate restoration of constitutional rule and the democratically elected government.

The U.S. State Department urged calm in Bamako and said it stands with President Toure.  The European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank both announced they were suspending development aid to Mali.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the coup leaders to refrain from any actions that could further destabilize the country.

The West African nation joins Madagascar on the list of suspended AU member states. Madagascar was suspended in March, 2009 after President Marc Ravalomanana was ousted in a coup.

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs