West & Central Africa Correspondent, Dakar
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Apr 4, 2012

Qaeda using Mali crisis to expand, France warns

PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – France warned on Wednesday the seizure of northern Mali by a Tuareg-led rebellion was playing into the hands of local al Qaeda units, urging neighbors including Algeria to do more to tackle the threat.

For long one of the most stable democracies in West Africa, Mali has plunged into turmoil since a widely condemned March 22 coup that emboldened Tuareg rebels in their quest for a northern homeland.

Apr 4, 2012

Timbuktu: from city of myth to rebel stronghold

April 4 (Reuters) – When turban-swathed Tuareg rebels swept
into Timbuktu on Sunday to plant the flag of their northern Mali
homeland, they found very few tourists in the bars, hotels,
museums, mosques and libraries of the fabled and ancient Saharan
trading town.

Local guides say numbers of foreign visitors had already
fallen off after a Dutchman, a South African and a Swede were
seized by gunmen in the historic Malian city in November. A
German citizen was killed in the abduction claimed by al Qaeda.

Apr 3, 2012

Mali junta defies deadline for handing over power

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s junta ignored a demand by neighbors for an immediate exit from power on Tuesday, instead simply repeating its offer to hold open-ended talks on a future transition to civilian rule.

Malians rushed to stock up on petrol and cash after the 15-state ECOWAS West African bloc launched trade and diplomatic sanctions aimed at forcing the leaders of last month’s coup to stand down.

Apr 3, 2012

Malians stock up before anti-junta sanctions bite

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Malians rushed to stock up on petrol and cash on Tuesday after neighbors went ahead with trade and diplomatic sanctions aimed at forcing the military junta to hand over power.

For long one of the most stable democracies in West Africa, Mali has plunged into turmoil since a widely condemned March 22 coup that emboldened Tuareg rebels to seize half the country in their quest for a northern homeland.

Apr 3, 2012

Malians queue for fuel as anti-junta sanctions begin

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Malians queued to stock up on petrol at garages around the capital Bamako on Tuesday after neighbors launched trade and diplomatic sanctions aimed at forcing the military junta to hand over power.

For long one of the most stable democracies in West Africa, Mali has plunged into turmoil since a widely condemned March 22 coup that emboldened Tuareg rebels to seize half the country in their quest for a northern homeland.

Apr 2, 2012

Neighbors hit Mali junta with border shutdown

BAMAKO/DAKAR (Reuters) – Mali’s neighbors agreed to shut their borders with the West African country on Monday as part of tough sanctions aimed at forcing the leaders of last month’s coup to step down.

Leaders of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, also announced they would “activate” the region’s standby military force, though it was unclear when any troops would deploy and with what mandate.

Apr 2, 2012

Islamists push for sharia law in northern Mali

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Islamists moved to impose sharia law in northern Mali after helping Tuareg separatists seize key towns, ransacking bars and banning Western-style clothes and music, residents said on Monday.

A lightning 72-hour advance by rebels over the weekend, which exploited the chaotic aftermath of a military coup in the distant capital, is the latest threat to stability in West Africa, whose leaders met for crisis talks in Senegal.

Apr 2, 2012

Mali sanctions loom, rebels seize north

BAMAKO (Reuters) – West African leaders will decide on Monday whether to impose sanctions on Mali after leaders of a military coup said they would return power to civilians in a bid to avert diplomatic and economic isolation.

A 72-hour deadline, set by West African bloc ECOWAS, for soldiers to start returning to barracks expired overnight as northern separatist rebels said they had completed a lightning push south, seizing three regional capitals in as many days as Mali’s army units retreated.

Apr 2, 2012

Mali sanction deadline expires, rebels seize north

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali braced for possible sanctions on Monday after its military rulers pledged to start returning power to civilians but no concrete moves were taken and it was not clear if neighbors would lift threats of isolation.

A 72-hour deadline, set by West African bloc ECOWAS, for soldiers to start returning to barracks expired as northern separatist rebels said they had completed a lightning push south, seizing three regional capitals in as many days as Mali’s army units retreated.

Apr 1, 2012

Mali junta backs down as rebels seize Timbuktu

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s junta yielded to the threat of sanctions on Sunday, pledging to start handing power back to civilians before a midnight deadline, while in the north, separatist rebels seized the ancient trading post of Timbuktu.

Amadou Sanogo, an army captain who led a March 21 coup, pledged to reinstate the constitution and all state institutions before transferring power back to civilians via elections. His promise followed last week’s threat by West African regional bloc ECOWAS to impose sanctions, including the potentially crippling closure of borders around the land-locked state.

    • About Bate

      "Bate Felix is a Dakar-based West & Central Africa Correspondent. He joined Reuters in 2007 as a graduate trainee and has worked in Johannesburg, London, Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam. He now covers economics, politics and general news stories in over a dozen countries in West & Central Africa."
      Joined Reuters:
      2007
      Languages:
      English, French
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