West & Central Africa Correspondent, Dakar
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Apr 6, 2012

Mali rebels declare independence in north

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Tuareg-led rebels in Mali officially proclaimed on Friday the independence of the northern territory they call Azawad, a statement on the rebel MNLA website said.

The statement was made by the MNLA secretary-general Billal Ag Acherif and datelined in the Mali town of Gao, which along with the two other regional centers was captured in a swift rebel advance in the past week.

Apr 6, 2012

Mali sanctions could be lifted soon: mediator

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s neighbors could soon lift economic and diplomatic sanctions imposed on the West African country with the aim of forcing last month’s coup leaders to quit power, a regional mediator said after talks with the junta leader on Thursday.

The 15-member West African bloc ECOWAS this week shut the borders of the landlocked country and denied it access to funds from the regional central bank, moves that could start to strangle the economy of Africa’s third-ranked gold producer in days.

Apr 5, 2012

Mali’s Tuareg rebels say military operations over

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Tuareg-led separatist rebels announced the end of their fight to create an “Azawad” state on the edge of the Sahara on Thursday after sweeping across northern Mali during a political crisis after a coup.

The ceasefire came ahead of a meeting of army chiefs from West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc, which will try and hammer out a plan for military intervention in Mali, which experts fear has become a security vacuum for al Qaeda cells and smugglers to exploit.

Apr 5, 2012

Separatist Mali rebels say military operations over

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s MNLA separatist rebels announced they had ended their fight to create an “Azawad” state on the edge of the Sahara on Thursday after achieving their goal amid a political crisis that has paralyzed southern capital.

The ceasefire was announced ahead of a meeting of army chiefs from West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc in Ivory Coast, where they will try and hammer out a plan for military intervention in Mali, which experts fear has become a security vacuum for al Qaeda cells and smugglers to exploit.

Apr 5, 2012

Mali postpones talks, Qaeda stokes fear

PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s military rulers on Wednesday postponed a national convention to end a crisis sparked by a coup, which has led to international isolation and allowed rebels to seize control of the northern half of the country.

Colonel Moussa Coulibaly, an adviser to the head of the junta, said the talks, which political parties and civil society groups had earlier said they would boycott, were postponed to provide more time for preparations.

Apr 4, 2012

Mali parties reject junta talks, Qaeda stokes fear

PARIS/BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s political parties on Wednesday rejected the army’s plan to hold a national convention to end a crisis sparked by a coup, which has led to international isolation and let rebels seize control of the northern half of the country.

France and the United Nations warned that the seizure of northern Mali by rebels was playing into the hands of local al Qaeda units, and former colonial power France urged Algeria and other neighbors to do more to tackle the threat.

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.

    • 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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