AFRICA/MALI - Questions about the "counter coup" in Bamako

Bamako (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation is calm, one does not hear gunfire, people are going to work," says to Fides Fr. Edmond Dembele, Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Mali, from Bamako, where on April 30 a military group, loyal to Amadou Toumani Toure, President overthrown in a coup on March 22, clashed with coup soldiers. In the clashes 14 people were killed and forty wounded.
"At first the authorities had said that the clashes were a reaction by members of the former Presidential Guard, which is an emanation of the body of the command-paratroopers, in the attempt on behalf of the military junta to arrest their commander, who had helped former President Amadou Toumani Toure to hide during the coup," said Fr. Dembel. "This version is though to be verified, because on television some people arrested accused of being foreign mercenaries involved in the so-called counter-coup were shown. These are people from other West African countries like the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. It is not known, however, those who recruited and paid them."
The head of the military junta said that the situation is under control and the process of democratic transition initiated by the agreements of April 6 continues. On the basis of the agreement a new head of state, a new Prime Minister and a new government were also appointed, but the junta has not yet been dissolved.
"In northern Mali, in the hands of various rebel groups, the humanitarian crisis persists and the flight of civilians towards the south of the country or to neighboring states continues. Some humanitarian organizations and local citizens' groups from the north try to send aid to the area" the priest says.
In northern Mali the National Liberation Movement of Azawad (MNLA) operates which declared the independence of the area, the AQMI (Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb), Ansar al-Dine, the National Liberation Front of Azawad ( apparently formed by Malians of Arab origin while the MNLA is composed of Tuareg) and other smaller groups. Some also argue that there are even Nigerian extremists of Boko Haram, in the ranks of AQMI. These movements have different goals: national independence, the MNLA, Islamization of the entire Mali the Islamist groups. To search for a common line, last week the movements that control the north of Mali held a meeting, but whether and what agreements were reached were not released. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 02/05/2012)

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