West & Central Africa Correspondent, Dakar
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Apr 9, 2012

New north Mali Arab force seeks to “defend” Timbuktu

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Members of Mali’s Arab community in the northern town of Timbuktu have formed an armed group to fill the void left by the army’s retreat, adding to a host of factions already involved and extending the ethnic dimension of Mali’s conflict.

Residents in Timbuktu said the new group, known as the Azawad National Liberation Front, or FLNA, was essentially made up of members of an Arab militia that had been established to defend the town during an advance by Tuareg-led rebels.

Apr 8, 2012

Mali’s president resigns, neighbors discuss north

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Toure resigned on Sunday, paving the way for the soldiers who ousted him in a coup to stick by a deal to restore civilian rule and hand power to the president of the National Assembly.

Neighboring states meeting to discuss turmoil in Mali’s north, a major reason for the military’s ousting of Toure, differed over whether to crush the northern rebels, a mix of Tuareg separatists and Islamists with links to al Qaeda, or talk to them.

Apr 8, 2012

Mali junta sees civilian government “in days”

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s coup leader said on Saturday the junta would hand power to civilians within days in a deal under which neighboring nations agreed to lift sanctions and help tackle Tuareg rebels who have seized much of the north.

The March 22 coup by soldiers angry at ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure’s handling of a two-month-old rebellion backfired, emboldening the Tuareg nomads to seize the northern half of Mali and declare an independent state there.

Apr 7, 2012

Mali junta sees interim government “in days”

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s junta leader said on Saturday a power handover agreed with neighboring countries would take place in a matter of days with the appointment of an interim government of national unity.

The March 22 coup by disgruntled soldiers plunged the West African country into chaos and emboldened Tuareg rebels who have declared an independent state in the north of Mali.

Apr 6, 2012

Mali’s neighbors back junta exit plan

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s two-week-old junta agreed on Friday to hand over rule to civilians in return for the end of sanctions by worried neighbors who had threatened to strangle the economy of the West African country.

The accord between leaders of a March 22 coup and regional mediators came the day Tuareg rebels declared the independence of the northern half of Mali they seized in a lightning advance earlier this week – a secession bid shunned by the world.

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.

    • 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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