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Africa

EU, World Bank and ADB move to suspend development aid to Mali

media Renegade Malian soldiers appear on television at the ORTM television studio … Reuters/Mali TV

The European Commission has announced the temporary suspension of development operations in Mali after soldiers staged a coup in the west African nation on Thursday. The EU had planned to allocate 583 million euros of development aid to Mali between 2008 and 2013. Humanitarian aid is not effected by the decision.

 

The World Bank and the African Development Bank have also suspended development aid.

The moves comes amid a growing backlash on Friday against the soldiers with African security chiefs calling an emergency meeting and countries elsewhere strongly condemning the military junta and demanding a return to civilian rule.

President Amadou Toumani Touré fled his official residence on Thursday as rebel soldiers seized key buildings in the capital in the country's first coup in 21 years. He is said to be in a safe location.

Touré had just over a month left in power before a scheduled election on 29 April.

The soldiers, calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, say they acted because of the government’s inability to stop a Tuareg-led rebellion in the north of the country.

Junta spokesman Lieutenant Konaré went on public television late Thursday and said a national curfew would be put in place and the coup leaders have ordered all civil servants back to work on Tuesday.

The capital, Bamako, was the scene of widespread looting overnight on Thursday, but the coup leaders on Friday had gathered the pillaged furniture and goods together and told people to come and collect what belonged to them.

The strength of the new junta’s grip on power is unclear. RFI sources say several high-ranking officers were asked to join the movement, but none have so far agreed. There are also claims that some political parties will be hostile to coup.

Only Oumar Mariko of the Sadi Party has said he is willing to work with the junta.

Mali is usually seen as politically stable, but unrest in the north, where Tuareg tribes have long felt ignored by a southern government and where Al-Qaeda has also taken root, has created a major security problem.

The demise of Libya's Moamer Kadhafi compounded the situation: hundreds of battle-hardened heavily armed Tuareg who had fought for him returned to Mali ready to take up a decades-long struggle for independence.

 

 

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