West and Central Africa Correspondent
David's Feed
May 24, 2012

Qaeda leader tells fighters to support Mali rebels

DAKAR (Reuters) – The leader of al Qaeda’s North African wing has put his group’s fighters in Mali’s north at the disposal of Ansar Dine rebels seeking to impose Islamic law across the West African state, the first public comments officially linking to two groups.

Fighters should impose sharia only gradually and look to collaborate, not clash, with separatist rebels also operating in Mali’s north, the head of AQIM said in speech posted on the internet and translated by the SITE jihadist monitoring service.

Apr 27, 2012

Mali junta rejects West African troop deployment

DAKAR (Reuters) – Mali’s junta said on Friday it would resist any deployment of West African soldiers in the country and treat foreign forces sent there under a regional plan as “the enemy”.

The comments came a day after regional bloc ECOWAS said it would send troops to Mali and Guinea-Bissau to tackle the aftermath of coups that, in the case of Mali, has left more than half the country in rebel hands.

Apr 24, 2012

Mali: from democracy poster child to broken state

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Within weeks, Mali has plunged from being a sovereign democracy to a fractured territory without a state, occupied by competing rebel groups in the north while politicians and coup leaders in the south jostle for control of the capital Bamako.

There is no sign the broken nation can be put back together soon – raising concerns among neighbours and Western powers of the emergence of a lawless “rogue state” exploited by al Qaeda and criminals.

Apr 24, 2012

Analysis: Mali: from democracy poster child to broken state

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Within weeks, Mali has plunged from being a sovereign democracy to a fractured territory without a state, occupied by competing rebel groups in the north while politicians and coup leaders in the south jostle for control of the capital Bamako.

There is no sign the broken nation can be put back together soon – raising concerns among neighbors and Western powers of the emergence of a lawless “rogue state” exploited by al Qaeda and criminals.

Apr 21, 2012

“Loyalist” soldiers move into Mali’s rebel-held north

BAMAKO (Reuters) – About 200 soldiers claiming to be government loyalists have moved back into northern Mali saying they will fight to take it back from Tuareg-led separatist and Islamist rebels that routed the army across the region three weeks ago.

The troop movement just inside Mali’s eastern border with Niger came as witnesses said gunmen in rebel-held Timbuktu, near the northwestern border with Mauritania, opened fire to disperse residents protesting against the occupation of their town.

Apr 17, 2012

Mali names interim PM after wave of arrests

BAMAKO, April 17 (Reuters) – Mali named a leading scientist
as its caretaker prime minister on Tuesday but its path back to
civilian rule after last month’s coup was thrown into doubt as
soldiers arrested key allies of the ousted president, Amadou
Toumani Toure.

The coup emboldened Tuareg-led rebels to seize control of
the northern half of the West African country, a zone larger
than France which security experts now fear could become a haven
for al Qaeda allies already operating largely unchecked there.

Apr 12, 2012

Interim Mali leader promises vote, anti-rebel fight

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Former parliament speaker Dioncounda Traore took over as Mali’s interim president on Thursday from the leaders of last month’s coup, promising to hold elections and fight rebels occupying half the country.

Traore, 70, a labor activist turned politician, was sworn in by Supreme Court President Nouhoum Tapily in the capital Bamako as part of a deal to restore civilian rule after army officers staged a March 22 coup in the West African state.

Apr 4, 2012

Analysis: Mali’s north feared new “rogue state” in Sahara

DAKAR (Reuters) – Tuareg fighters are celebrating the seizure of key towns in Mali’s north as a historic victory in their half-century battle for a desert homeland.

But for the Sahel region and wider world, their lightning advance, made as the distant southern capital Bamako struggled with the aftermath of a coup, poses a security nightmare.

Mar 30, 2012

Mali coup leader seeks help as rebels seize towns

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s junta leader appealed for outside help to secure the West African country on Friday as separatist Tuareg rebels took the strategic northern town of Kidal and advanced towards new targets further south.

Arms spilling out of Libya from last year’s conflict have bolstered a northern rebellion in Mali. President Amadou Toumani Toure was facing rising unpopularity over his failure to halt the rebellion before he was toppled in last week’s coup.

Mar 30, 2012

Mali coup leader seeks help as rebels take strategic town

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s junta leader appealed for outside help to secure the West African country after separatist Tuareg rebels took the strategic northern town of Kidal on Friday in their biggest victory yet.

Arms spilling out of Libya from last year’s conflict have bolstered a northern rebellion in Mali. President Amadou Toumani Toure was facing rising unpopularity over his failure to halt the rebellion before he was toppled in last week’s coup.