'Betrayed' Malians march after pensions

2012-05-21 20:41

Bamako - The leader of Mali's military coup has agreed to allow the interim president to remain in office as part of deal that also sees him receiving a lifetime salary and other benefits provided to former heads of state, officials said on Monday.

Thousands of supporters of junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo demonstrated in the capital, Bamako, on Monday against the deal that extended the interim president's mandate. They blocked streets outside the government headquarters and then marched toward the presidential palace.

The demonstrators had broken into the palace, but told an Associated Press reporter that they were leaving because they could not find the interim president. They then went to search at an adjoining administrative building which they did not manage to enter.

The protesters shouted slogans including "Down with Ecowas" and "Down with Dioncounda." Dioncounda Traore is serving as the interim president. Demonstrators are angry about what they say is a decision imposed by the West African regional bloc, Ecowas, on Mali.

The junta had been calling for a national convention to decide who would lead the transition before this agreement was signed.

Some pro-junta groups have said they would like to see Captain Sanogo lead the country until new elections. He is now the president of the National Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State, the committee the junta set up to run the country.

The West African regional bloc, Ecowas, met with Captain Sanogo, interim President Traore and the interim prime minister over the weekend to mediate the agreement.

"The president of the National Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State will get all the advantages given to ex-presidents of the republic by the law," said Djibrill Bassole, the foreign minister of Burkina Faso who is the chief mediator for Ecowas in the Malian crisis.


The agreement was signed by the head of the junta, the interim president, the prime minister and Ecowas mediators on Sunday.

Former heads of state in Mali get a salary, a home paid for by the state and protection provided by state security services. Bassole also said that the head of the junta would be able to consult with the president and the prime minister from time to time about the running of the country until new elections can be held.

Interim President Dioncounda Traore will stay in office for 12 months until new elections will be held, as part of the deal.

The junta had been opposed to the extension of the interim president's term, which under the Malian constitution was due to run out on Tuesday. Ecowas had threatened to reimpose sanctions on Mali if the junta did not stop interfering in the transition.

"The interim president of the republic, the prime minister and the president of the National Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State must treat each other with respect and consideration," the agreement said.

"All parties should refrain from any action which could affect the smooth functioning of the transition," the agreement also said, likely a reference to the arrests by the junta in recent months of senior political and military leaders.

A group of middle ranking soldiers toppled Mali's democratically elected president on 21 March. Since then West African leaders have been pressuring the junta to exit the political scene and return to the barracks.

The new agreement says that the Malian government should now focus on the issues in the country's north where Tuareg separatists and Islamist fighters took over in late March. These groups took advantage of the disorder caused by the coup in Bamako to take over the three regional capitals in Mali's north.

Some of the groups have links to al-Qaeda's North African branch, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Since government troops fled north Mali, senior AQIM leaders have been seen openly moving around in the major towns there, Western diplomats based in Bamako have said privately.

Ecowas has said that it preparing to send 3 000 troops to Mali to help the country reclaim its northern territory but so far troop pledges have yet to be made.

On Friday, Bassole said that the presidency of Burkina Faso had made contact with the armed groups in Mali's north in hopes of finding a negotiated solution to the issue which he said would ensure Mali's territorial integrity.

- AP
Read more on:    ecowas  |  dioncounda traore  |  amadou sanogo  |  mali  |  west africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!



How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette
Pro-skater Tony Hawk rides a hoverboard!
10 ways to drive her wild!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong desire to be unique, self sufficient, right and in control today. Your mind is fast today and you may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.