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Friday, March 23, 2012

African Union suspends Mali membership after military coup

Rebels in Presidential Palace

As well as suspending Mali the AU is sending a mission to Mali to investigate after mutinying soldiers took over power. The AU met on Friday and said it would deploy a group to Bamaka the capital of Mali immediately.

Chairman of the AU Jean Ping said that the coup was a backward step for Mali and to attempts to promote democracy in Africa. The coup toppled President Amadou Toure's democratically elected government. The armed forces have complained that the government has not provided the resources they need to fight Tuareg rebels in the north of the country.

The rebels who call themselves the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad are Tuareg who live in the Azawad area that straddles several different African countries. Some of them fought for Gadaffi in Libya and have now returned many with weapons.

The rebels insist that they will dislodge the Malian armed forces and the Malian administration from all the Azawad area which is in the north of Mali. Both the World Bank and African Development Bank announced they were suspending all development aid to Mali pending the restoration of constitutional government.

The rebels claim to have seized the town of Anefis which is on the highway linking the two main northern towns of Gao and Kidal. In the capital Bamako residents say that bread and fuel supplies were running low as the soldiers looted gas stations and shops and even took cars. For more see this Al Jazeera article.

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