By Adama Diarra
BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s caretaker president Dioncounda Traore was beaten up and hospitalised after hundreds of protesters stormed his palace on Monday to demand his resignation, officials and protesters said.
A spokesman for the soldiers behind a March 22 coup said Traore’s close-protection officers had killed three people in the attack, in which protesters entered parts of the palace compound unopposed and tore up pictures of Traore.
Mali is struggling to cope with the aftermath of the coup and a subsequent rebellion in its desert north. Sanogo agreed at the weekend to drop objections to Traore remaining in charge but crowds encouraged by pro-coup politicians took to the streets on Monday calling for him to quit.
Resolving the political crisis in the capital Bamako is a prerequisite for foreign help in efforts to retake control of the north, now in the hands of separatist and Islamist rebels, including some al Qaeda fighters.
“He (Traore) has just been rushed to hospital … They beat him seriously and tore his clothes,” Bakary Mariko, spokesman for the CNRDRE body of soldiers who last month formally agreed to allow a transition back to civilian rule, said by telephone. Read more…
Mail and Guardian
Former Malian prime minister Modibo Sidibe was arrested overnight along with several other high-ranking figures, both civilian and military, relatives and a security source said on Tuesday.
Those arrested were taken to the headquarters of the junta that seized power last month before handing it over to an interim president, Dioncounda Traore, who took office on Thursday, the sources said.
“Modibo Sidibe was arrested at his home by several armed men including two or three wearing masks,” a family member told AFP. Sidibe was prime minister from 2007 to 2011.
Family sources said former defence minister Sadio Gassama and Hamidou Sissoko, personal chief of staff to ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure, were also picked up at their homes and taken to the military camp and junta headquarters in Kati, some 15km from the capital Bamako.
A Malian security source confirmed the arrests and said they would be explained “when the time comes”.
Soumaila Cisse, a former Cabinet minister, was reported to have escaped arrest because he was not at home when armed men ransacked his house. Read more…
Mali’s coup leader Army Captain Amadou Sanogo on Monday met with
Capt Sanogo and Dioncounda Traoré (r)
, the man set to be sworn in as the country’s interim president to oversee the transition back to constitutional rule.
The two men discussed when Sanogo would hand over power to allow the return of democratic rule in the troubled west African nation, now half controlled by Islamists and rebels.
Traoré, currently Mali’s speaker of parliament, met Sanogo in the presence of international mediators for about an hour at a military camp near the capital Bamako.
“We established a framework” of focus points, said Côte d’Ivoire’s African Integration Minister Adama Bictogo who, along with Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, is acting as mediator. “No-one lost anything and no-one won anything,” he added.
Sanogo told reporters the encounter “went well”, adding that more information would be released soon. Read more…
Mali’s coup leaders have called for a national meeting to discuss the country’s transition back to civilian rule, as they seek a way out of a growing crisis that has brought debilitating sanctions on the country and further fuelled a Tuareg rebellion in the north.
Coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo told journalists on Tuesday that a national convention would begin on Thursday.
“Yes to the return to a constitutional order, but with a new Mali. Our Mali is sick in the depths of her being … To this effect, we invite the entire political class and all the actors of society to come without exception to the national convention,” he said.
Sanogo, who announced plans last week to restore Mali’s constitution, had earlier pledged to call a convention to determine what sort of body should govern before new elections are held.
Sanogo also said that the country’s toppled president, Amadou Toumani Toure, could face trial, accused of “high treason and financial wrongdoing”.
The offer to hold open-ended talks on transition to civilian rule came as people rushed to stock up on petrol and cash after the 15-state ECOWAS West African bloc launched trade and diplomatic sanctions aimed at forcing the leaders of last month’s coup to stand down. Read more…