News

Tuareg Rebels Vow Push in Mali After Coup

Mali coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo speaks at the Kati Military camp, in a suburb of Bamako, March 22, 2012.
Mali coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo speaks at the Kati Military camp, in a suburb of Bamako, March 22, 2012.

Tuareg rebels in northern Mali say they will push to seize more government territory, a day after mutinous soldiers in the south overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure.

During an interview with VOA's French to Africa service, a leader of the rebel MNLA said rebels plan to advance toward areas held by the Malian army, including the towns of Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao.

MNLA second-in-command Karim ag Matafa said the group wants to remove the government from what the rebels consider Tuareg land.

TheTuareg uprising

  • Tauregs are an ethnically Berber, nomadic people in West Africa's Sahel and Sahara regions.
  • Tuareg fighters have staged multiple uprisings in Mali and Niger for greater autonomy.
  • Current Mali rebellion began in January after Tuareg fighters returned from Libya, where they fought for Moammar Gadhafi.
  • The conflict has driven about 100,000 Malians to neighboring countries, internally displaced more than 90,000.
  • Losses to Tauregs prompted soldiers' coup in Bamako Thursday March 22.
Source:Encyclopedia Brittanica, ICRC, France 24

Our problem is not with a specific government, he says.  Our problem is with the occupation of our country.

Ethnic Tuareg fighters began their uprising against Mali's government in January.  The army's dissatisfaction with Mr. Toure's handling of the rebellion prompted soldiers to stage a coup early Thursday.

The coup has drawn strong criticism internationally.  Friday, the European Union suspended development aid to Mali, a day after the EU, United States, and African Union all called for the return of constitutional rule.

President Toure's whereabouts are unknown, though media reports Thursday said he is under the protection of his presidential guard.

The apparent leader of the mutiny, Captain Amadou Sanogo, said on state television Thursday the president and the arrested ministers are safe and will not be harmed.

"They are well and fine," he said. "I will assure you we will not harm the physical integrity of anyone, but I will assure you that while I am in charge of this movement and, in conjunction with civil society, they will face the competent authorities in full view of the Malian people.''

 

Thursday's coup took place just a few weeks before the president was due to step down at the end of his second term.  Elections are scheduled for next month.

Sonny Ugoh, an official with regional bloc ECOWAS, said Thursday the coup heightens insecurity in Mali. ECOWAS had been working with Mali's leaders to try to negotiate an end to the Tuareg uprising, he said.

“The president of the commission just led a fact-finding mission that returned from Mali where they held consultations, all with the intention of starting a process that would hopefully lead to a negotiated resolution of the crisis in the north of Mali."

Well-armed Tuareg separatists started attacking army bases in Mali's desert in January, after many Tuareg fighters returned from Libya, where they had assisted in the ousting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.  

The United Nations refugee agency says the conflict has uprooted 130,000 people in and around Mali. Many soldiers have died in the conflict.

Tuareg nomads have launched periodic uprisings for greater autonomy in Mali and Niger.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Observer
March 25, 2012 3:52 AM
This seems like an accidental coup, barely under control by anyone. Low caste soldiers taking revenge on a society which they feel demands they risk their lives and cannot even deliver food.
Coups "led" by low ranking officers tend to turn into revolutions, and revolutions don't stay bloodless. Still time to head this off in Mali if people are willing to talk.

by: assse
March 23, 2012 11:49 PM
Military juntas should be punished as they will be lessons for others.It is shame to hear military juntas news for Africa.As far as concerned Militarists are responsible to safe guard the country and people based constitution. Militarists have no mandate to lead country. So AU is now in testing whether returning back to power Toure or not . We are waiting AU and ECOWAS.

by: zozimos
March 23, 2012 8:57 AM
Barranca please!!!. Obviously the 'author' of this article is just doing a good job writing what he/she was told to write. You expect verification too?

by: Jibrili
March 23, 2012 7:54 AM
In response to mr Barranca , there were tuareg fighters among the NTC {anti qaddafi rebels} as well , it is documented and only a quick search away . The problem is not Qaddafi , for he is dead .
Why do these people feel so disenfranchised to the point where they are compelled towards rebellion every now and then , that is the problem !

by: Barranca
March 23, 2012 7:22 AM
Please verify whether the Tuaregs were fighting for Gadhafi. This sentence makes it sound like they were fighting to remove Gadhafi, when in fact they were ardent supporters of Gadhafi:

"Well-armed Tuareg separatists started attacking army bases in Mali's desert in January, after many Tuareg fighters returned from Libya, where they had assisted in the ousting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs