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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs