October 21, 2014 09:24 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

  • Indonesian President Joko Widodo gestures to the crowd during a street parade following his inauguration in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibraham)

    Audio Hope, Expectation for New Indonesian Leader

    Joko Widodo is a former businessman and governor of Jakarta. He has no ties to the political establishment. There are huge expectations for the new president in the world’s third-largest democracy. More

  • Bishops attend the beatification ceremony of Pope Paul VI, and a mass for the closing of of a two-week synod on family issues, celebrated by Pope Francis, in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican,  Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014.

    Audio Catholic Bishops Reject Plan to 'Welcome' Gays

    Conservatives had criticized an early document from the two-week-long meeting of bishops in Rome. That document sought to limit criticism of people who have same-sex relationships. The final document approved by the bishops disappoints liberals but pleases conservatives. | As It Is More

  • A man works on a cassava farm in Nigeria.

    Audio Climate Change Could Destroy Farms in Africa

    About 70 percent of those who live in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa are small-scale farmers. They produce about 80 percent of the food needed to feed the people of Africa. And they need a lot of help dealing with the effects of climate change. | As It Is More

  • Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, left, walks with former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 20, 2014.

    Audio Indonesians Welcome New President

    Also, Turkey and US help Kurdish forces fight Islamic State, and finally some good news on the fight against Ebola. | In the News More

  • African Cheetahs

    Audio Is the Cheetah Fast Enough to Survive?

    In 1900, about 100,000 cheetahs lived in the world. Today there are only 10,000 of the animals. It appears that the cheetah is vulnerable to attacks by other animals because of its physiology. More

Featured Stories

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    More and more children are diagnosed with ADHD, a condition that makes it hard to focus. | 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

  • General George McClellan created a strong Union force, but he worried he did not have enough men to defeat the Confederacy.

    Audio McClellan Approaches Richmond ... And Waits

    The North and South clashed in a series of battles called the Seven Days Campaign. The struggle saved the Confederacy but came at a terrible price. But victory came at a terrible price. Twenty thousand Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded. More

  • Solar Storm

    Audio How to Weather a Solar Storm

    The sun’s energy creates light and heat. It also produces charged electrical particles and magnetic fields. The sun can keep the earth nice and warm and helps our crops to grow. But a sudden burst of that solar energy can cause a power outage. More

  • Video Sting, War, Lou Reed for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officials nominated Green Day, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, The Marvelettes, N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, The Spinners and The Smiths. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs