October 02, 2014 03:17 UTC

In the News

Mali Coup Shows Tensions Over Tuareg Fighters Back From Libya

Soldiers outside the presidential palace in Bamako, Mali, on Friday after a military coup
Soldiers outside the presidential palace in Bamako, Mali, on Friday after a military coup


Download this story as a PDF

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

This week, soldiers in Mali seized power. They said they acted because the president has failed to end a rebellion by ethnic Tuareg rebels in northern Mali. That conflict started again in January after Tuareg fighters returned from Libya. They had been allied with Moammar Gadhafi.

Leaders of the overthrow suspended the constitution and arrested government ministers. In Bamako, the capital, the price of fuel doubled and bread was reported in short supply.

Mali was set to hold presidential elections in late April. President Amadou Toumani Toure, a former army officer, was not seeking another term. The democratically elected president has served two terms, the legal limit. Years ago, he himself led an overthrow.

The United Nations Security Council condemned the ouster of President Toure. The U.N.'s political chief, Lynn Pascoe, said the return of the Tuaregs from the Libyan army has fueled the rebellion.

LYNN PASCOE: "A sizeable number had gone to Libya because there they could earn more money working in the military and other areas.  They were welcomed by the Gadhafi regime. We think that somewhere in the range of fifteen hundred to two thousand of them returned. Some of them were actually quite high-ranking people in the Libyan Army. And they also came with weapons."

The Tuareg rebellion has been happening on and off in Mali for many years. But Mr. Pascoe says the new weapons have changed the situation.

LYNN PASCOE: "They have clearly added much more firepower and drive to this operation, which made it very difficult for the Malian Army to deal with."

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed the support of the Obama administration for President Toure. She said Mali has been a leading democracy in West Africa and its democracy must be respected.

VICTORIA NULAND: "The United States condemns the military seizure of power in Mali. We echo the statements of the African Union, of ECOWAS and of other international partners in denouncing these actions. We've called for calm. We've called for restoration of the civilian government under constitutional rule without delay, so that the elections can proceed as scheduled."

The United States has been providing Mali with as much as one hundred forty million dollars a year in security, economic and financial assistance. That is in addition to humanitarian aid.

Ms. Nuland says the change of power in Libya has affected security in the Sahel area, with rebels again fighting for an independent Islamic state.

VICTORIA NULAND: "It's certainly true that there has been increasing concern inside Mali about Tuareg activity over the last number of months, and particularly since the Tuaregs have had less to fight about in Libya and have moved on to Mali."

Tuareg rebels have taken control of several towns in the north. The United Nations says the fighting has forced at least one hundred thirty thousand people from their homes.

The military uprising started on Wednesday. The next day, the soldiers announced a National Committee for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State. They promised elections but set no date.

In Bamako, people from Tuareg and Arab ethnic groups say the soldiers must work to avoid renewed discrimination against those groups. Many Malians thought the government was poorly handling the Tuareg rebellion. Still, people had praise for government efforts to spread the message not to treat Tuareg civilians or other light-skinned groups unfairly.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.

___

Contributing: Margaret Besheer, Anne Look, Nancy Palus and Scott Stearns


This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Laurent
03/24/2012 12:46 PM
What about this Tuareg uprising ? What are the ties between Tuaregs and Al Quaïda ?


by: OLIMAR OLIVEIRA rodrigues
03/24/2012 5:12 AM
In Bamako, the situation is complicated on the one side the soldiers revolted and on the other side people have nothing to do with this situation, but the soldiers are with new weapons and may decide the situation.


by: BIJU.P.Y.
03/24/2012 2:07 AM
Democracy must live on. As one writer said: 'Democracy may be bad; but other systems seem to be worse'. But the funniest thing to note about it is that people get what they deserve. Thank you.


by: Pikaq
03/24/2012 12:46 AM
I doubt if the new government will be successful or not? United States have already help people in conflict area renewed their government and built new democracy .
But the countries is still terrible in politics, economy, people's finance. Is the democracy in the Western Africa done well? Let's wait and see.


by: Oscar Barker
03/23/2012 7:43 PM
Any word on the welfare of peace Corps people in Mali? Have a granddaughter there


by: Aziz
03/23/2012 7:20 PM
I founded this programe very nice and useful.

Learn with The News

  • A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters where protesters have made camp in Hong Kong, Oct. 1, 2014.

    Audio Protesters Call for Hong Kong Chief to Step Down

    Also at least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when shells hit a school playground and a minibus in Donetsk, Ukraine. And, U.S.-led airstrikes hit near a key Syrian border town for a second day, as Kurdish fighters defend the area from Islamic State militants. | In the News More

  • South Koreans march during a rally 100 days after the ferry Sewol sunk in Seoul, South Korea, July 24, 2014.

    Audio Ferry Investigation Divides South Korea

    South Korean lawmakers have agreed to launch a new investigation into the deadly passenger boat accident in April. But many people are not happy with the measure. Other citizens protest a second investigation. More

  • Ebola Dallas Hospital

    Audio First Ebola Case Reported in US

    An unidentified person has brought Ebola into the U.S. from Liberia. This person is being treated. Those he or she came into contact with are being closely watched. More

  • Mercedes Garcia of El Salvador fills in the application for her new ?green card? while waiting in a predawn line outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service office on Wednesday, March 20, 1996 in Los Angeles. Wednesday was the deadline to apply for

    Audio US 'Green Card' Lottery Registration Begins

    The US government’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 visas available every year. The program is designed for people from countries that have “historically low rates of immigration to the United States.” | As It Is More

  • Carter Elections

    Photogallery Former US President Jimmy Carter Turns 90

    He won the Nobel Peace Prize and served as Georgia’s governor and as a Navy officer. Former peanut farmer, former nuclear engineer now works as a human rights activist. Liked and disliked around the world. He has written 26 books and is writing more. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Children exercise during a weight-losing summer camp in Shenyang, Liaoning province, August 3, 2009. Obesity is becoming one of the biggest threats to children's health, a nationwide investigation has warned, pointing out that students' physical indicator

    Audio Physically Fit Children Do Better in School

    Several studies found that children who had physical activity on a usual basis improved in school. The children also learn best if physical activity is included during class or before. | Health Report More

  • Union and Confederates troops clashed on July 21, 1861 near Manassas Junction, Virginia.

    Audio Manassas Ends Hope for a Short War

    Many northerners wanted Union forces to seize the new Confederate capital and quickly end the rebellion. Pro-Union newspapers urged, "On to Richmond!" But the North soon learned it needed a better trained army to fight the Confederacy. More

  • Singer Lorde performs at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada May 18, 2014.    REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)  (BILLBOARDAWARDS-SHOW) - RTR3PR0U

    Audio Lorde Releases Single for 'Hunger Games' Soundtrack

    The 17-year-old New Zealander is curating the soundtrack. The album is to be released a few days before 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One' opens November 21st. | American mosaic More

  • The US is a nation of immigrants. But China is a nation of ... Chinese.

    Audio US, China: A Look at Immigration and Migration

    The U.S. and China have the two largest economies filled with opportunities and jobs. In 2013, a Pew study found that 45 million international migrants lived in the United States. Yet only “850,000 people living in China were born in other countries.” More

  • Artist conception of ISEE-3 in space.  (ISEE-3 Reboot Project)

    Video Citizen-Scientists Take Control of Old Satellite

    Former NASA engineer helps group get information from a satellite that was launched in the 1970s and had been silent for years; giving an old satellite a new mission. | As It Is More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs