News

    Uncertainty Reigns in Mali

    Anne Look

    Uncertainty reigns in Mali's capital as ethnic Tuareg rebels continued their offensive in the north, a day after mutinous soldiers overthrew Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure.

    Angered by the government's mishandling of the two-month old Tuareg rebellion, renegade soldiers ousted Toure just weeks before an election that would have marked an end to his term.

    Coup leaders have since suspended the constitution and arrested government ministers, but said they plan to return the country to civilian rule via elections.

    'People are afraid'
    Meanwhile, Bamako residents said mutineering soldiers looted the presidential palace, gas stations and shops.

    Waiting in line to buy gas, Youssouf Diawara said there's no petrol for his car. "[I] don't even have gas for my motorbike to get home," he said.

    Coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo has called on soldiers to respect private property, but residents say the pillage continues.

    Bread has become scarce and the price of fuel has doubled.

    "People are afraid because of the soldiers," said Adama Quindo, explaining that soldiers take what is in the car or make the driver get out and take the car itself.

    Sometimes, Quindo added, they break into shops.

    While many Malians have said they understand the soldiers' grievances, they long for a return to civilian rule.

    "We want coup leaders to hold transparent elections, and those who win to stay in power because [we] prefer civilians to the military," said Ibrahim Sangare.

    A benefit to MNLA?
    Analysts say the coup, which started as a mutiny at a base near the capital, has set Mali back democratically and militarily.

    Soldiers said they lacked adequate weapons, ammunition and food as they confronted Tuareg separatists in the north. Numerous troops have died or been captured since the rebellion began in January.

    Mali was set to hold a presidential election on April 29, but president Toure, a former army officer and coup leader himself, was not seeking another term as he was nearing the end of his two-mandate limit.

    "Their grievances are real and the coup reflects a deep frustration among the soldiers," said Andre Bourgeot, an expert at the Paris-based National Center for Scientific Research.

    "The coup was led by rank-and-file soldiers and low-level officers," he added. "However, the coup is not going to get them resources to fight the rebellion in the north. It will take time to set up a new central order -- time that is bound to benefit the rebels."

    According to National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), rebel fighters took a northern town Friday without resistance.

    The MNLA's second-in-command told VOA's French-to-Africa Service that they plan to continue their advance south. "The problem," he said, "is not with a specific government, [it] is with the occupation of Azawad," territory in northern Mali the group claims as its homeland.

    The rebels include former pro-Gadhafi fighters who have returned to Mali with arms acquired from the Libya conflict.

    Occurring in one of West Africa's most established democracies, the coup has sparked a storm of international condemnation.

    According to the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS], a high-level African delegation is set to arrive in Bamako to meet with coup leaders and call for a return to constitutional order.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kuduma Ayoma Ibrahim
    March 25, 2012 11:39 AM
    The coup in Mali is uncall for.Africa has reached a cross-road where the only clear path is democracy.I call on all peace lovers the world over to condemn the coup in the strongers term.Lets hold the interest of the masses supreme.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora