Several junta spokesman, reached by phone, refused to confirm that a countercoup was under way, underscoring the uncertain nature of the events. “There are confused reports that it was an attempt by the presidential guard to take back some parts of the city,” a diplomat in Bamako said Monday night.
Asked if a countercoup was unfolding in the city, a junta spokesman, Lt. Boubacar Coulibaly, said only: “This is what I have heard. I don’t have proof for now.” A high-ranking member of the junta, Capt. Diarra, asked the same question, said : “It’s false, it’s false! Now let me get back to work!” before hanging up the phone.
The junta seized power on March 22, overthrowing the democratically elected president and ending over 20 years of democracy in this parched and baking land straddling the Sahara Desert. Shortly afterward a rebel movement of Islamists and nomadic fighters took control of the country’s north, splitting Mali in half.
The junta, under international pressure, agreed three weeks ago to an interim government, with a president and prime minister. It appeared to have ceded power, but since then has shown increasing signs of not wanting to give it up, arresting many opposition figures, including Tieman Coulibaly, and demanding a role in shaping the country’s future.
I am leaving for Mali with my heart full of hope. My country has known enormous difficulties, but I am leaving with the hope the people of Mali will come together to face this adversity head on.
The leaders of Mali’s coup and neighbouring countries have reached a deal under which the two-week-old military junta will hand over power in return for the end of trade and diplomatic sanctions.
Mali’s military junta and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc announced the deal on Malian state television late on Friday.
Under the plan, signed by mediators and junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, the military government will hand over power to parliament speaker Diouncounda Traore who will be sworn in as interim president with a mission to organise elections. (source)
ECOWAS is quite willing to assist the country to protect its territorial integrity, but we cannot do so when the power in place in Bamako is not legitimate… There is zero tolerance to power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means.
The UN Security Council has condemned the coup in Mali while top officials said fallout from the Libya civil war had increased the frustration of soldiers who ousted the president.
Security Council members “strongly condemn the forcible seizure of power from the democratically-elected government of Mali by some elements of the Malian armed forces,” said a council statement.
The 15-nation body called on the soldiers “to ensure the safety and security of President Amadou Toumani Toure and to return to their barracks.”
The council demanded “the release of all detained Malian officials” and the “immediate restoration of constitutional rule and the democratically elected government,” said the statement read to reporters by Britain’s UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the council president, for March.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also condemned the coup and called on its leaders “to refrain from any actions that could increase violence and further destabilize the country.”
The UN’s political chief said there was a link between the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi last year and the Mali coup. (source)
“The skyrocketing costs of gold of late has driven some of the poorest people on earth to desperate measures to dig it out of the ground. For just a fraction of what the gold will fetch on the open market children are pulled from school in many cases to work and then exposed to poisons in the process.”
Interesting look at the treacherous conditions these children and their families work in despite Engel’s missteps.
“I don’t care if I die or not. All I care about now is finding gold.”