News / Africa

    Hundreds of Malians Protest Extension of Interim Government

    Protesters occupy Mali's presidential palace in the capital Bamako, May 21, 2012.
    Protesters occupy Mali's presidential palace in the capital Bamako, May 21, 2012.
    Anne Look
    BAMAKO - Hundreds of Malians took to the streets Monday to protest an agreement just signed between West African mediators and the leader of this March's military coup that keeps an interim civilian president in place for one year, to organize elections.  A mob forced its way into the presidential palace and attacked the interim president, who is being treated for injuries. 

    Hundreds of protestors forced their way into the office of Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore, Monday, demanding he resign.  

    The president's chief of staff, Souleymane Niafo, says that the mob beat up the president.  Niafo said Traore is now being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

    Protestors showed a VOA reporter pieces of fabric they claimed to have ripped from Traore's jacket.

    Many of the protestors had marched to the palace from a large gathering outside a conference center where the Coalition of Malian Patriotic Organizations, known as COPAM, was meeting inside to select its own interim president, expected to be announced Tuesday.

    "Down with ECOWAS.  ECOWAS cannot choose Mali's president," protesters shouted, growing increasingly heated at the sight of a Western journalist.

    A few held small signs that read "Mali is a sovereign nation. Let us decide."

    Protesters used blue metal chairs and hunks of rock to barricade intersections in the blocks surrounding the conference center.

    Meeting inside were political, labor and civil society leaders opposed to the deal struck between junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo and West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

    A leader of COPAM, politician Ahmed Ag Akeratane, says they supported the National Committee for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State, or CNRDRE, as the junta is known.  He says the CNRDRE may have signed an agreement with ECOWAS but that doesn't concern them.  He says ECOWAS is not going to come and tell them how to run their country.

    Monday marks two months since an army mutiny spiraled into an impromptu military coup.  Soldiers, calling themselves the CNRDRE, ousted the nation's elected leader less than a month before a presidential election.

    Many in Mali cheered the coup back in late March. The event seemed to open the floodgates on a deep-seated frustration and distrust of the political elite that some say had long been seething beneath Mali's democratic veneer.

    Since then, ECOWAS has pushed hard for a return to civilian rule.

    Sunday's agreement says interim President Diouncounda Traore will remain in charge of the transition. It recognizes Captain Sanogo as a former head of state, complete with all the accompanying status and privileges.

    Interim president Traore is viewed by some as an ally of ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure.

    Traore's 40-day interim mandate, as prescribed by the constitution, was set to expire Tuesday.

    Captain Sanogo had proposed a national convention be held to select a new leader for the transition. He bowed this weekend to ECOWAS demands that Traore stay in place.

    However, despite protests, not everyone is opposed the agreement.

    In a busy market in downtown Bamako, vendors said they are eager to see life, and business, to get back to normal.  Many pointed to the security crisis in the north, where armed groups now control two-thirds of the nation's territory.

    Djibril Maiga says instead of continuing to bicker about politics here in Bamako, they first need to save the north.  However, he says he does not support foreign troops coming in to help.  He says the problem should be left to the Malian army.

    Armed groups in the north took advantage of the chaos in the days following the coup to quickly push south, effectively cutting the country in half.

    Tuareg separatists have declared an independent state, while Islamist militants have rejected independence and begun imposing Sharia law in northern towns.  Tens of thousands of Malians have fled the region.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora