A coup erupted in Mali, a landlocked West African country, on March 22. The presidential palace, a number of the country's state institutions, and the premises of the national broadcaster were seized by a mutinous group led by Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, and at the moment, authority in Mali announcedly rests with an improvised “National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State” (CNRDR), the government is disbanded, and the constitution – put on hold. The putchists are also known to have placed several Mali ministers and the majority of candidates who registered to run in the upcoming April 29 elections under arrest.
Commentators worldwide immediately linked the developments to the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country. A statement released on the day of the coup by Russia's foreign ministry said the junta's objective was to reign in the situation in the region where the government forces were clashing with separatists (1), and Russian deputy minister of foreign affairs M. Bogdanov described the Mali coup as “a deplorable consequence of the Libyan crisis” (2). True, Tuareg separatists who recently returned from Libya have been attacking cities in the northern part of Mali since January, 2012.
The group of 1,000-1,500 rebels under the command of former Libyan colonel Ag Mohamed Najem - the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) – gained control over chunks of the Mali territory in the north and declared them independent.
Residents of the areas over which the insurgency was spilling flew en masse to Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and the southern Mali (3), while the country's army was evidently unable to put up serious resistance and permanently rolled back under separatist strikes. Watchers tend to see the debacle and the fact that control over up to a half of the Mali territory slipped away from the hands of the government as the root causes behind the coup. Read More