Thousands march in Mali’s Bamako

2012-10-12 08:49

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bamako - Several thousand people marched in Mali's capital Bamako on Thursday to call for armed intervention by a West African regional force to help wrest back the vast north of the country from armed Islamist groups.

The demonstrators carried banners and placards supporting the Malian army, Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which is preparing to send troops if it gets the backing of the United Nations and Western countries.

The rally in the city centre came as France and its United Nations partners pressed Ecowas and the African Union to come up within 30 days with proposals to reconquer Mali's north, an area the size of Texas or France.

Additionally, according to European Union sources and a document obtained by AFP on Thursday, the EU is working on plans to help Mali's army, including the dispatch of 150 trainers.

"We have an ungoverned space under the control of terrorists, with narco-trafficking and smuggling of all kinds," an EU official said. "A credible threat of force - that is what is lacking."

At the Bamako rally, protesters urged Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo and other troops to the front lines. Sanogo led the 22 March coup that toppled president Amadou Toumani Toure and caused chaos, opening the way for the Islamists, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), who are applying hardline Islamic sharia law in northern cities under their control.

Sanogo ceded power in April, but remains influential in Bamako, where his men are accused of many human rights abuses.

"The place of the soldiers is at the front, all the military must go there," one demonstrator said.

Another said, "I back the Malian army, the arrival of Ecowas troops, I want intervention".

Danger

Many marchers emphasised the secular nature of the sub-Saharan country, criticising Islamists for their radical stance and for punishments they have meted out to civilians, such as death by stoning for an unwed couple and amputations for theft.

Other slogans and banners targeted Tuareg rebels of the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), which launched an offensive in the north in January.

At first allied to the Islamists, the MNLA was swiftly overpowered and sidelined by them.

Some banners said there should be "No independence, no self-determination" for the Tuaregs, after the MNLA initially proclaimed independence in northern Mali before the Islamists took over. Demonstrators stressed the unity of the country.

"If nothing is done in coming days, the existence of our country will be in danger," said a statement by march organisers.

"To fail to help Mali will be a serious error on the part of the African and international community in the face of history ... a crime of non-assistance to a people in danger," the text added.

A draft resolution proposed by France aims to bring about "detailed recommendations" and an "operational concept" ahead of any military operation in a sensitive part of Africa, amid fears that Mali could become a base for Aqim and traffickers of various kinds.

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday that diplomatic solutions had come up short, a day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged for dialogue.

Great struggle

"Dialogue with whom? With Aqim? Can you imagine there ever being any conversations that would be useful?" Hollande said in televised comments.

As France calls for military intervention to return the north to government control, EU nations are considering proposals that include sending scores of military trainers to whip the Malian military into offensive mode.

Bamako has officially called on the United Nations to hand down a mandate for an international force in Mali.

Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird meanwhile told reporters in Paris that he was worried Mali could go the way of Afghanistan.

"Terrorism is the great struggle of our generation," Baird said after meeting his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

"We must not allow the same problems that the world allowed to happen in Afghanistan to show their face in the Saharan region and Mali," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    aqim  |  ecowas  |  eu  |  francois hollande  |  mali  |  france  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!

Who would have guessed the world’s least visited country would have such spectacular beaches?

 
 

I love summer.24

LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

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

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.