Mali’s Coup Leader: Constitution Has Been Reinstated

Posted April 1st, 2012 at 8:55 am (UTC-5)
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Mali's coup leader says he has reinstated the country's constitution, a day before harsh economic sanctions were to be imposed if constitutional order was not restored.

During a news conference near the capital, Bamoko on Sunday, Captain Amadou Sanogo read a brief statement saying he had restored the state's previous constitution, which was adopted in 1992.

He also said state institutions had been restored and he vowed to organize the return of power to civilians. However, the coup leader did not provide a timeline for new elections.

The Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS ), which oversees a common currency in the region, threatened to impose crippling financial sanctions by Monday if power was not handed back to civilians.

Meanwhile, witnesses in northern Mali told VOA that Tuareg rebels had reached Timbuktu and reported fighting and looting in the historic town.

Timbuktu was the last key city in the north that had not been taken by the rebels. Tuareg fighters seized the city of Gao from the Malian army late Saturday and the provincial capital, Kidal last week.

On Saturday, military junta leaders met with Burkina Faso's president, Blaise Compaore, in Ouagadougou to discuss ways to settle the Mali crisis.

The Mali representatives said President Compaore rejected their request for help battling the rebels in Mali and called for coup leaders to restore the constitution.

Renegade soldiers seized power from democratically elected President Amadou Toure on March 22, after accusing him of failing to provide the army with enough resources to tamp the Tuareg rebellion.

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

Tuareg separatists have been seeking autonomy for decades.