World | Africa

March 24, 2012

Mali: Bamako Looting and Shortages

Bread and fuel began to run from Friday, March 23 in Bamako where, according to testimony of people'', the military coup loot petrol stations and shops and seized cars.

While junior officers who have risen in the night between Wednesday and Thursday looking President Amadou Toumani Toure (aka ATT), the Tuareg rebels have taken advantage of the confusion to seize abandoned positions in the north by government forces, it is said in the capital.

The rebels, who accuse "ATT" lack of firmness in dealing with the Tuareg rebellion that erupted in mid-January in the desert north, through the streets of the capital after occupying the presidential palace and national television.

Captain Amadou Sanogo, who presents himself as the leader of the coup leaders, suggested Thursday that his men were working to stop the deposed president who, according to unconfirmed reports, would be under the protection of Loyalist soldiers in Bamako.

In Addis Ababa, the African Union seemed to confirm this view by stating that the former president was, according to information in its possession, "safe" under the protection of faithful around the capital. 
The pan-African organization has also suspended the participation of Mali until the restoration of constitutional order.

In an interview Friday with RFI, Captain Sanogo denied that soldiers were involved in looting. "I deplore the vandalism and looting but the Malian people know that it's not us," he said.

Despite the appeal of the coup leader to his men to respect private property, residents are reports of continuing looting, causing shortages and soaring prices. Per liter of gasoline has doubled in 24 hours to over 1,300 FCFA ($ 2.60).

In the capital, where residents wander in search of bread and gasoline, most shops, service stations and companies are closed.

"I am a driver but there is no fuel for the car. And I have nothing to put in the tank of my two-wheeler to get home," lamented Youssouf Diawara, who waits in a queue pending before a gas station.

Mali, which is full of weapons from Libya since the return of former mercenaries of Muammar Gaddafi, known in northern rebellion of Tuareg rebels and the presence of Islamist al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). 
This desert region edge of the Sahara, which is also the scene of arms trafficking, drugs and cigarettes, is also prey to an acute food crisis.

According to a Malian officer stationed in Kidal in the north, the Tuareg rebel National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) occupied the military camp Anefis, a hundred miles southwest, following the withdrawal of the garrison.

"The army retreated in Gao," said a source in Timbuktu. "There are more military hierarchy here. (The rebels) will seize the northern communities." On its website, the MNLA confirms falling Anefis, which is located on the axis Gao-Kidal, after the withdrawal of the garrison in Gao.

To believe diplomats and officials, the president would be under the protection of Loyalist soldiers. For its part, the Embassy of the United States has officially denied rumors that "ATT" would have taken refuge within its walls.

Mutinous soldiers warned they would attack the Parachute Regiment who, they believe, would protect the deposed head of state, a former officer who was about to cede power at the presidential election scheduled for April.

Captain Sanogo is committed not to stay in power but, interviewed Thursday on television Africable Pan, he refused to provide a timetable for a return to civilian rule, saying his priority was to restore order in the North.

On EMC, the leader of the coup leaders said that politicians were being held "safe". "We will not touch a hair of someone," says he. 

Text by lexpress.mu
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