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.
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