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ECOWAS Suspends Mali Over Coup

Malians in Ivory Coast protest homeland coup during emergency ECOWAS meeting, Abidjan, March 27, 2012.
Malians in Ivory Coast protest homeland coup during emergency ECOWAS meeting, Abidjan, March 27, 2012.

A West African regional group has suspended Mali's membership and will send at least five heads of state to the country in response to a coup carried out by renegade soldiers last week.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, chair of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, called an emergency meeting Tuesday in Abidjan.  Afterward, in a statement, the member states said they are considering "all options" to end the crisis, noting that a peacekeeping force is ready for deployment.

The statement also said a delegation of African heads of state would travel to Mali within the next 48 hours to try to restore democracy.  The group includes Mr. Ouattara as well as the leaders of Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Niger, and Benin.

The United States, France and the European Union have already halted non-humanitarian aid to Mali in response to the coup.

The African Union has suspended Mali and the United Nations, the United States and other countries have called for a return to constitutional order.

The mutinous soldiers seized power on Thursday from President Amadou Toumani Touré.

Mr. Touré was due to step down in the coming weeks after serving two terms.  A presidential election had been scheduled for late April.

The mutinous soldiers say they took power in order to launch a more effective response to an ethnic Tuareg rebellion in the north.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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by: Alfred Cossi Chodaton
March 28, 2012 7:10 AM
Nobody supports the rebellion in the North of Mali but the it is not going to be weakened by this military adventurism. Instead, we have seen the rebellion being taken advantage of the chaotic situation caused by the coup. We Africans must be united in our resolve to put an end to decades of poverty due political stability. This time round, the AU, ECOWAS, and International Community must intervene if need be militarily.

by: Godwin
March 28, 2012 4:42 AM
Ecowas and AU are 2 organs formed to protect dictators and oppressive govts in Africa. There is no democracy in Africa, and all the regional bodies do is maintain the status quo and ensure that those outside the bourgeois do not gain entrance; and in case one of them falls into trouble, to rally round to save him. Otherwise what has Ecowas done to give peace to the troubled peoples? Or will it only become relevant when there's a coup to remove a bad egg?

by: Samuel Darko
March 28, 2012 3:17 AM
It is unfortunate to witness such uncalled-for military adventurism in western Africa country like Mali, It is time for us africans to get use to the fact that mutiny, extremism and free-fall adventurism is not the key to economic and political liberations, rather democracy is now the language of the century. Coup detat is unacceptable and should be condemed in no uncertain terms.

by: Gil Labbe
March 27, 2012 8:10 AM
I lived in Mali for 2 years, I once travelled to the Taureg portion of the country with a Gov. Minister. The Tauregs who knew me asked ,if he was a black American.There is little in common between the Tauregs and the tribes in the south, not language, not culture . A territorial accomadation would make sense.

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