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.
BAMAKO/ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Mali’s neighbours on Thursday gave the leaders of last week’s coup 72 hours to begin handing back power to civilians or face a crippling closure of trade borders, diplomatic isolation and a freeze in funding from the regional central bank.
The West African country is an indirect victim of last year’s conflict in Libya, from where weapons spilled out and bolstered a northern rebellion. The coup was led by soldiers who complain the government has not given them adequate means to fight off the uprising.
BAMAKO/ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Jets carrying West African presidents for a meeting with Mali’s new military leaders were forced to turn back mid-flight on Thursday after hundreds of supporters of last week’s coup invaded Bamako’s main runway.
An official from regional bloc ECOWAS said the meeting, aimed at pressuring coup leaders to swiftly restore constitutional rule after they ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure, could be rescheduled for Friday if security allowed.
BAMAKO/ABIDJAN, March 29 (Reuters) – West African presidents
scheduled to meet Mali’s junta leaders on Thursday were forced
to turn around mid-flight after reports of pro-junta protests at
the airport and in the capital, sources said.
An official at Ivory Coast’s presidency confirmed the
airplane carrying President Alassane Ouattara, one of a
delegation of six heads of state from regional bloc ECOWAS meant
to arrive in Mali, had returned to the capital Abidjan.
BAMAKO (Reuters) – Thousands of demonstrators chanted pro-junta slogans in Mali’s capital on Wednesday, protesting against the threats of foreign powers to use sanctions to force the leaders of last week’s military coup to step down.
Deposed leader Amadou Toumani Toure, meanwhile, said in his first public comments since he was ousted that he was free and unharmed somewhere inside the West African nation, and called for a swift solution to the crisis.
BAMAKO (Reuters) – Thousands of demonstrators chanted pro-junta slogans in Mali’s capital on Wednesday, protesting against foreign powers’ threats to use sanctions to force the leaders of last week’s coup to step down.
The coup, seen as a setback to fragile democratic gains in Africa, was triggered by army anger at President Amadou Toumani Toure’s handling of a northern Tuareg rebellion that in recent weeks has gained ground and inflicted losses on the army.
BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s coup leaders announced a new constitution including a pledge to allow elections in which they would be barred from standing, even as several thousand supporters rallied in the streets of the capital Bamako on Wednesday.
The charter, which did not specify when the elections would be held, came hours after West Africa’s ECOWAS bloc threatened sanctions and the use of military force to reverse last week’s coup that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure.
ABIDJAN/BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s neighbors threatened on Tuesday to use sanctions and a readiness to use military force to dislodge the army leaders behind last week’s coup, urging them to quickly hand back power to civilian rulers.
A summit of the West African ECOWAS bloc agreed to send a team of heads of state to confront the putschists in the next 48 hours, a sign of the region’s growing resolve to end the instability that has dogged it for decades.
ABIDJAN/BAMAKO, March 27 (Reuters) – A group of West African
heads of state will visit Mali in the next 48 hours to persuade
the leaders of last week’s coup to step down, the ECOWAS
regional bloc agreed on Tuesday, warning it was considering
using “all options” to end the crisis.
The hint of possible military intervention highlighted a
growing determination to bolster local democracy in a region
that has suffered decades of instability.
ABIDJAN/BAMAKO, March 27 (Reuters) – Presidents from eight
West African nations met on Tuesday to consider suspending
Mali’s membership of the regional bloc ECOWAS, sources in the
organisation said, in a bid to isolate leaders of last week’s
Domestic and international pressure is mounting on the coup
leaders to hand back power in a country which was one of the
most stable democracies of the region but is now also struggling
to stamp out a rebellion in its desert north.