Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Army Group Seizes Some Key Sites in Mali Capital

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Army Group Seizes Some Key Sites in Mali Capital

Article excerpt

The immediate cause of the apparent ouster of President Amadou Toumani Toure was discontent among mid-ranking officers over the government's handling of a decades-old uprising by Tuareg rebels.

A group of junior officers in the West African state of Mali, upset over the conduct of a sporadic guerrilla war in the country's north, has seized control of the country's national television station and its presidential palace in an apparent coup attempt.

In a morning broadcast Thursday, a spokesman for the group said Mali's institutions had been "dissolved" and its Constitution suspended. The spokesman, a previously unknown officer identified in news reports as Lt. Amadou Konare, denounced what he called the "incompetence" of the country's government. Sporadic gunfire rang out in the capital, Bamako, and several ministers were reported to have been arrested.

Mali has not had a coup since 1991 and its government is considered one of the more democratic in a region marked by instability and military takeovers. The attempt was all the more unexpected because presidential elections are scheduled for next month, and President Amadou Toumani Toure, a former general, long ago announced he would respect the country's Constitution and not seek another term.

But discontent over Mali's unsuccessful attempts to stifle a rebellion among nomadic tribesmen in the desert north has been brewing for months in the junior ranks of the country's armed forces.

The tribesmen, Tuareg armed with weapons from the former armories of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya, have scored surprising victories against the Malian Army, taking several of the small towns near the Algerian border, killing soldiers, and forcing the evacuation of garrisons in their campaign for independence.

Previous uprisings among the Tuareg, drawn from a nomadic group of some 1.5 million people spread across countries of the Sahel region, have been put down. But as this one has dragged on, the protests have multiplied, with officers complaining of a lack of proper weaponry and effective leadership in curbing the rebellion. In recent months there have been marches in the capital, bonfires and barricades. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.