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Mali junta yet to return to barracks: groups
by Staff Writers
Bamako (AFP) April 23, 2012

The soldiers who seized power in Mali last month have yet to return to their barracks despite a regionally-brokered deal restoring civilian rule, political parties and civil society groups said Monday.

The junta reached an agreement with the Economic Community of West African States on April 6 for the restoration of constitutional order which saw former speaker Dioncounda Traore take over as president.

"Despite the huge efforts deployed by ECOWAS, the army's return to the barracks remains a distant goal," a statement said.

The document was issued by the United Front for Safeguarding Democracy and the Republic, which includes 40 parties and around 100 civil society groups.

"The military junta continues to dominate political life and refuses to submit to constitutional authority," the statement said.

The soldiers toppled Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22, ostensibly in protest at his regime's failure to stem a Tuareg rebellion in the north, in what some observers have described as an accidental coup.

The upheaval in Bamako however was unanimously condemned abroad and created a power vacuum that saw Tuareg rebels fighting alongside Al Qaeda-linked rebels take over the entire north of the vast country in a matter of days.

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