News

    Malians Denounce Arrests by Junta

    Dioncounda Traore (L), the new interim leader talks with Cheick Mohamed Abdoulaye Souad, aka Modibo Diarra, new prime minister, in Koulouba. Mali's former junta arrested two more politicians as the new interim prime minister weighs the make-up of a unity
    Dioncounda Traore (L), the new interim leader talks with Cheick Mohamed Abdoulaye Souad, aka Modibo Diarra, new prime minister, in Koulouba. Mali's former junta arrested two more politicians as the new interim prime minister weighs the make-up of a unity
    Nancy Palus

    Malians are protesting the arrest of several leading political and military figures by the junta that is supposed to be stepping aside for civilian leaders.  The junta -- still very prominent despite an ongoing process to restore civilian rule -- has yet to provide a precise reason for the arrests.  A sit-in protest was held at the same hotel where the interim president is staying.

    When officials with Mali’s interim leader Dioncounda Traoré came out to hear demonstrators, people shouted: “There is no more junta” and “There is just one president.”

    Assembled outside the hotel where Traoré continues to stay since his April 12th inauguration, members of political parties' youth organizations shouted “Liberate, liberate” and held signs saying, “Military to the front lines, power to civilians.”  Scores of soldiers and riot police stood nearby.

    Malians say they are shocked and outraged at Tuesday’s pre-dawn arrests of at least seven people, including former prime ministers Modibo Sidibé and Soumaïla Cissé, deposed defense minister Sadio Gassama, as well as bank executives and the head of police.

    They were seized at their homes by armed soldiers and reportedly taken to Kati, the garrison town outside Bamako and the junta’s headquarters since the March 22nd coup.

    For some of the detained this is their second arrest since the coup.  The junta recently released a number of ministers and others it had arrested the day it took power.

    President Traoré’s chief of staff, Dicko Moustapha, told demonstrators he would deliver their declaration to the interim leader.

    He says Traoré condemns the arrests.  Naturally, he says, the president condemns anything that deviates from the rule of law.

    Dicko said he doesn’t know the motivation behind the arrests.

    The junta released a communiqué on Tuesday night, providing no precise reason for the detentions, and saying that the cases would be investigated by the proper authorities.

    Malians denouncing the junta’s actions say these are not arrests but rather “kidnappings,” meant to create an atmosphere of terror and to intimidate political leaders as Mali charts a return to constitutional order.

    On Tuesday, Mali named a consensus prime minister, 60-year-old NASA astronaut Cheikh Modibo Diarra.  A framework agreement between the junta and the regional bloc ECOWAS calls for a return to civilian rule, but is vague on the future role of the junta.  Coup leader Amadou Sanogo has said in public statements that he retains a role in overseeing the transition.

    ECOWAS political director Abdel Fatau Musah told VOA the arrests are against the principles of the transition.  He said the role of the junta would be discussed at a special ECOWAS meeting April 26.

    Leaders of a political coalition that opposes the coup talked to reporters on Tuesday, after visiting Kati.  They said they were not allowed to visit those detained.  They said they are particularly concerned about Soumaïla Cissé, who was injured the night of his arrest.

    Lawyer Hamidou Diabaté said the arrests make no sense whatsoever.

    He says, now that the country is embarking on a return to constitutional order, the rule of law must stand.  He says there are proper legal procedures for arrests and detentions, and that these extra-judicial arrests make no sense unless they are aimed at creating a climate of terror.

    The coup leaders say they seized power because the government had not equipped the army to fight Tuareg rebels in the north.  Since the coup, the rebels and Islamic militants have seized Mali's three northern regions and declared an independent state, which the international community has refused to recognize.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Brian
    April 18, 2012 11:35 AM
    I thought the junta had handed over to the head of the National Assembly?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora