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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
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.

VOA Blogs