News / Africa

Malian Schools in Capital Close Amid Tensions

x
Nancy Palus
The Malian government has ordered all schools shut down in the capital and a nearby garrison town following demonstrations in the two cities. Some 800 kilometers south of the front line where the army is fighting to hold back Islamic militants, people are increasingly frustrated with a worsening economic situation and what many call government inaction.

All schools, from kindergarten to university, are closed until further notice in the Malian capital Bamako and the nearby garrison town of Kati about 15 kilometers away.

On Wednesday hundreds of people marched in the streets of Bamako and Kati - the base of the military junta that ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré last March. The demonstrators - led by a number of civil society and political groups - called for a national dialogue on political reforms. Many were calling for interim President Dioncounda Traoré to step down for failure to liberate northern Mali

One Bamako resident said among the hundreds of marchers many were students. Another political coalition issued a communiqué denouncing the decision to hold such demonstrations while fighting is underway at the front lines in central Mali.

In a communiqué read out on state television - on Wednesday and again on Thursday - the government said now is not the time for public disturbances - rather, “at a time when Mali faces one of the direst periods in its history all citizens should unite behind the army in the fight to take back the north”.

The government said it was closing schools in the face of growing civil unrest and a risk of political manipulation. Schools will be shut “until the situation calms down”, according to the statement.

Bamako residents say things are not likely to calm down anytime soon if the socio-economic situation does not start to improve.

Some schools were already closed because of teachers’ unions’ strikes. Malians are struggling to cope with the economic fallout of instability that has gripped the country since a coup d’état last March. Political uncertainty reigns in the capital since an interim civilian government took power, the army is fighting to keep Islamic militants at bay, and tourism - long the source of income for countless families - is all but dead.

Some heads of households who used to have four or five mouths to feed now have 10 or 15, with an influx of family members who have fled to Bamako from the occupied north. Many people with automobiles have stowed them away, for lack of money to buy fuel.

Professor Issa Ndiaye, a political analyst in Bamako, says the political crisis in Mali today only accentuates the socio-economic crisis and there is a general sense of discontent among the people - things could explode at any moment.

He says the general sense among the people is that those in power - both civilian and military - are doing nothing to resolve Mali’s problems. He says people are utterly fed up.

Interim President Traoré is scheduled to address the nation on Friday.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid