October 23, 2014 00:38 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

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of Oct. 12, statistics released by the World Health Organization showe

    Audio Ebola Survivors Speak Out about Their Experience

    The number of Ebola cases continues rising. But there is some hope for those who survive the disease. Recently, a conference for Ebola survivors was held for the first time in eastern Sierra Leone. The goal was to offer advice to survivors and increase understanding of the disease. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

  • Men convicted of drug related crimes hear the public announcement for their death sentences in Shenzhen, China, on August 15, 1996.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

    Audio Activists: China Executed 2,400 People in 2013

    The number of executions in China is lower than in earlier years. However, it is more than three times higher than the number of executions in the rest of the world combined. That information comes from Amnesty International. Death penalty numbers are a state secret in China. More

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs