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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    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 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 New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    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.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora