Mali Junta ‘Restores’ Constitution; Rebels Sweep North

Posted April 1st, 2012 at 6:30 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

West African leaders plan to hold an emergency summit Monday in Senegal on the rapidly changing situation in Mali, where the military seized power in a coup last month.

Leaders of the military coup and Tuareg rebels fighting for an independent homeland in northern Mali are vying for power in the country.

The rebels have taken control major northern towns, including the legendary city of Timbuktu — the last major city that was in the army's hands.

Military coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo announced the restoration of the 1992 constitution Sunday. He also agreed to give up most powers to an elected civilian government. He gave no timetable for elections.

The announcement came one day before the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ) was to impose harsh economic actions unless the junta restored civilian rule.

Renegade soldiers seized power from democratically elected President Amadou Toure on March 22. They accused him of failing to provide the army with enough resources to stop the Tuareg rebellion.

Mr. Toure is in hiding.

Heavily armed Tuareg rebels arrived in northern Mali after the fall of neighboring Libya, and launched an insurgency in mid-January.

Tuareg separatists have been seeking autonomy for decades.


2. SOUNDBITE, Captain Amadou Sanogo, Coup Leader (French, translations below):

SOUNDBITE 1: “Following the final statement of The Economic Community Of West African States held in Abidjan on the 27 March 2012 and a statement from the ministers the ECOWAS from the 29 March 2012, and after consultation with the President of Burkina Faso, his excellency Blaise Compaore, mediator during the Mali crisis, we take a solemn promise to re-establish from this day on the constitution of the Republic of Mali of February 25, 1992, as well as the institutions of the republic.”

SOUNDBITE 2: Captain Amadou Sanogo, Coup Leader:

“We will leave conditions for a good transition to preserve national unity, we will engage, under the eyes of mediators, in consultations with all the actors of society in the context of a national convention in order to put in place a transitional body with the aim of organizing calm, free, transparent and democratic elections in which we will not participate.”