Soldiers loot in Mali after coup

2012-03-24 08:06

Bamako - Soldiers looted petrol stations and hijacked cars in Mali's capital Bamako on Friday, 48 hours after a military coup, as the African Union said it had assurances that President Amadou Toumani Toure was safe.

The AU also suspended Mali's membership after the coup, which has left the West African nation in limbo and jangled nerves in a region already suffering aftershocks from last year's Libyan war.

"We have been told that the president is safe, protected by a certain number of loyalists," AU Commission head Jean Ping told reporters after a meeting of the bloc's Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa.

"The president is in Mali for sure. The assurances we are getting from those that are protecting him is that he is not far from Bamako," Ping said.

The coup's leaders have sought to capitalise on popular dissatisfaction at Toure's handling of a rebellion by northern nomads. But they looked isolated as a coalition of parties condemned the coup and urged new elections, which before Wednesday's events had been scheduled for April.

"The signatories ... condemn this forceful takeover which is a major setback for our democracy," 10 parties including Adema, the largest in parliament, said in a joint declaration.

Amadou Sanogo, the army captain named as leader of the mutineers, told Africable television on Thursday that he would not hold on to power but refused to give a time frame for restoring civilian rule.

Sanogo, who says he has had training from US Marines and intelligence, said there had been efforts to arrest Toure.
Residents in Bamako said looting had caused shortages, and fuel prices have doubled to over 1 300 CFA francs ($2.60) a litre in about 24 hours.

"I am a driver but there is no fuel for the car, I do not even have fuel for my bike to go back home," said Youssouf Diawara as he queued with other motorists for petrol.

Although most shops, petrol stations and businesses were closed some residents ventured out in search of necessities.

"People are afraid because of the soldiers. Often (they take) what is in the car or they make you get out and take the car or sometimes the soldiers themselves just break into shops," said Bamako resident Adama Quindo.

Civilians joined in the looting of a warehouse by soldiers, according to Reuters television.

"Bread is becoming scarce, I made a mistake this morning, I should have bought more," said another Bamako resident.

Mali, flooded with men and weapons after Libya's civil war, was already facing a food crisis, the Tuareg-led rebellion, and a growing Islamist threat when Sanogo's soldiers took over.

  • Bob - 2012-03-24 08:49

    The African way...Don’t expect more and don’t expect less...!

      Oscar - 2012-03-24 09:31

      Agreed, this is Africa where you can take the indigenous people out of the bush but that is about it.

  • Frans Van der Poll - 2012-03-24 09:17

    My sentiments exactly Bob. Wonder what the Presidential Palace looks like?

  • craig.a.salter - 2012-03-24 10:13

    keep in mind how many South Africans are working in Mali and other north African countrys. they are also in danger there. All south africans in mali should be fee to fly home and still get pain for the time

  • nheinamann - 2012-03-24 10:40

    @ Oscar Your comments are racist. If you cant see that this is a direct result of the west plundering Libya and the repercussions are spilling out into the region. But no doubt you think its all perfectly cool because you read about it in the liberal white press and that's what you believe. Time for you lot to wake up and smell the roses, there is more going on beneath the surface than meets the eye . . .

      frank.hartry - 2012-03-24 10:58

      Are you following the same daily news as everyone else. The OAU and AU supported the obnoxious Gadaffi regime for 42 years before his own people toppled him. The ANC was supported financially by the dictator Gadaffi. People are now beginning to see this greedy corrupt ANC led government as even now worse than the aparthed regime. We need true African leaders such as Mhampela Ramphele and Moeletsi Mbeki and not the wild west gang of self enriching gangsters under Zuma that we have now. Like Gadaffi this corrupt ANC thieves have been stealing billions of rands while their own people are starving and unemployed. What government in the west would do that.

      Oscar - 2012-03-24 23:31

      nheinamann, I didn't comment about who is wrong or right in terms of what is going on in Libya or Mali. My comment was aimed at the actions of the self righteous soldiers that started their plundering and steeling the moment they got into power. For waking up and smelling the roses, I for one really do not care what is happening in other African countries because in 99.9% of the cases it defies all logic.

  • mmoledis - 2012-03-24 14:52

    If the country and government does not look after its forces especially soldiers this is the end results, so governments need to learn a lesson of resolving peoples problems before they can escalate further more, give soldiers ear and listen to what they are asking rather than dealing with them harshly. Now in Mali soldiers have taken the government and now country is in chaos. Let African governments take care of their soldiers by paying them properly and changing their working conditions to be better. Africa open your eyes!

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