Mali coup leaders to stand down as part of Ecowas deal

 
Captain Amadou Sanogo, 3 April 2012 Captain Amadou Sanogo seized power in a coup last month

Coup leaders in Mali have agreed to stand down and allow a transition to civilian rule, as part of a deal struck with regional bloc Ecowas.

In return, the bloc will lift trade and economic sanctions and grant amnesty to the ruling junta, mediators said.

The move came after Tuareg rebels in the north declared independence of an area they call Azawad.

The rebels seized the area after a coup two weeks ago plunged the West African nation into political crisis.

Independence call

Under the terms of transition plan, military rulers will cede power to the parliamentary speaker, Diouncounda Traore, who as interim president will oversee a timetable for elections.

Once sworn in, Mr Traore would have 40 days to organise elections, the five-page agreement says.

Analysis

After four days of a total economic embargo, the announcement will certainly come as a relief for the Malian population.

The agreement says that Ecowas will immediately prepare for the lifting of the tough sanctions it imposed on Mali earlier this week.

However, it doesn't specify when Captain Amadou Sanogo would hand over power to the head of the national assembly.

The sooner the better. The northern crisis will probably not be addressed before a legitimate government is in place in Bamako but the situation is now critical.

Tuareg-led rebels have declared independence for a vast land of lawlessness and confusion from which at least half the population, already impoverished, has fled either south or into neighbouring countries.

It is also a land where Islamist combatants, some of whom are linked to al-Qaeda, are now imposing Sharia law, and where witness accounts speak of abductions and rapes.

Regional defence chiefs of staff are drafting plans for a potential military intervention. But it would still take weeks and outside logistical help before it could be deployed.

The deal, signed by coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, states that Ecowas prepare for the ending of sanctions, but did not name a date for Capt Sanogo to hand over power.

"It will be necessary to organise a political transition leading to free, democratic and transparent elections across the whole of the territory," it states.

Officers led by Captain Sanogo seized power on 22 March, accusing the elected government of not doing enough to halt the rebellion in the north.

Earlier, international bodies rejected a call from Tuareg rebels for their newly named region of Azawad to be recognised as independent.

The secular National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) is one of two main groups fighting a rebellion in the north.

Ansar Dine, an Islamist group, has also made gains and has started to impose Sharia law in some towns.

Rights group Amnesty International has warned of a major humanitarian disaster in the wake of the rebellion.

Ecowas is preparing a force of up to 3,000 soldiers which could be deployed to stop the rebel advance.

France's Defence Minister, Gerard Longuet, said France could provide assistance to the force, including transport, Reuters news agency reports.

The Tuareg people inhabit the Sahara Desert in northern Mali, as well as several neighbouring countries and have fought several rebellions over the years.

They complain that they have been ignored by the authorities in the capital, Bamako.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 32.

    @ beammeup
    Well said and spot on of Africa.God know the billion Africans need people like you to echo their injustice perpetrated on them since independence by their very own who always claimed to know them as parasites will claim on their host. We r 1 Global family. Mali need help and these tuareg just took advantage of its drawbacks unlike Maritania,Niger,Algeria and Libya they also inhabit.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 31.

    If this turns out as stated then it is not typical of politics as usual on the African continent. Nevertheless less bloodshed and less refugees it is to be welcomed.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    I loved my time in Africa - its beautiful. Then there is also the corruption, the tribal bickerings/problems, the ignorance, poverty, sickness and general want in the villages and the cities too.

    Don't worry, we wish you the best and most of us agree we should stay out of your business and let you go at it. If you succeed wonderful, if you don't well we can't be blamed then can we!!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 29.

    No African man or woman initiated imigration to the West. It is the Western government who initiate the mandate to get African come as slave of cheap labour. Westerners who traveled are looking for cheap places to enjoy, sun, sand and what have you, Even if you travel to Africa for few months you know nothing about Africa. Stop your I know rubbish

  • rate this
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    Comment number 28.

    @26

    Yes, we travel. We choose places which are civilized is all. Nothing would be worse than ending up in some coup or other, or being targeted as a 'foreigner' or being kidnapped. Some of us come across as idiots perhaps but we are not crazy enough to enter your 'asylum'. Another clue...no one is lining up to emigrate to Mali...are they??

  • rate this
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    Comment number 27.

    @26

    Some of us western reader's have traveled and have 'some knowledge'

    The tuareq wonderful hosts I must admit thrid world animals/butchers if you are fighting them

    And yes i have traveld a lot and trained a lot

    (user name is a joke from old hys "If you said i was anti EU would you call me a Xenophobe") ;-D

  • rate this
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    Comment number 26.

    Most Western readers, commentators who make their comments on HYS get their news from their local newspapers and TV. Many has never been to any country outside their own. It is amazing how these idols think they kno better !

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 25.

    The average news reader in the West (me) are not qualified to comment. We read over and over the tribal disputes, the killing, the poverty....to what end...someone steps down and another takes his place. And so it goes on and on. Good luck and goodbye.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 24.

    Captain Amadou Sanogo effort to step dowm as a coup leader is what African politic should look like. The efforts of Africans local and national organization is vital in promoting peace in Africa. Foreign Western interference in Africa is the problem. Let Africa alone deal with its politics

  • rate this
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    Comment number 23.

    @Jim: The putsch occurred only superficially because of the Northern Rebels' advances. In reality, as always, it represents selfish opportunism on the part of the involved military leadership. The aim of inciting foreign intervention in no way warrants or excuses the murder and mayhem created in Bamako and other places after the breakdown of constitutional order due to Cpt. Sanogo's crimes.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 22.

    If the putschists know what's good for them, and they keep to their word, there will be a proper democratic transition within the coming two months in Mali. Humanitarian aid should continue and the economy in the South should be restored to its usual health by that time. (See further, below)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 21.

    After the transitional government has given way to a newly elected government, and three months thereafter when stability in the South has been regained, the putschists should be forcibly retired from public life, if not before then, and given a minimal pension. If they again conspire to return to military life or to act against the government, they should be jailed for a very long time.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 20.

    the coup was because the government wasn't doing enough to stop the rebels in the north and since they toppled said government those rebels were able to take over the entire north and declare themselves independent and ECOWAS had to step in and take over.
    when the coup is led by a Captain you know it was not a hugely popular rebellion.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    But as to the Northern Rebels and their AQMI friends, the transitional government should not wait but should work closely with the UN, North American and European powers to immediately suppress them. There's no good purpose in waiting for another day to begin reinstituting the territorial integrity of Mali and restoring the constitutional writ of Mali over all its territory, including the North.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    Now Ecowas stands for the value of Africa and raise my hut for the African Union and the Coup Leaders for accepting the Deal for Africa by Africa with Africa. Let Us all hope this will be a lesson for other African leaders who pretend to Rule.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    One down, hundreds more to go......

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    Well it seems the Tuareq are 're asserting' thier age old 'right' to do what they want int the desert, including robbing and rapeing people and forcing people to behave 'how we say' (sharia anyone)

    And Thanks to Gaddafi they are well armed now.

    Fact is France and EU will nevr 'recognize' them

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 15.

    This military coup shouldn't happen in first. Military coup will send African countries backward. Behavng like Gangsters will not help Africa Continent. http://mycontinent.co/African-Gangsters.php

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    @ levap, "It took Europeans a better portion of millennium..." Yes, but we're in different times now. The Facebook, Internet, Fibre optics, iPhone etc. generation. I hope the stage has now changed and Africa must not tolerate illegal military takeovers.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    I can't help feeling this is NATO's fault!!

 

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