by Staff Writers
Abuja (AFP) March 22, 2012
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday's military coup in Mali was "an apparent setback to the consolidation of democracy" and urged reinstatement of the deposed government.
In a presidential statement in Abuja, Jonathan asked the regional bloc ECOWAS, the African Union and the international community not to recognise the military usurpers.
"The coup plotters have only embarked on a fruitless mission of supplanting a constitutional government by other means which goes against the current global grain of constitutionalism," he said.
The Nigerian leader demanded an immediate reinstatement of the government of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was forced to flee his palace during the overnight coup.
He urged the coup plotters to allow the ongoing democratic process in the country to run its full course and not to do anything that would truncate the electoral process, especially the presidential election slated for next month.
Jonathan, who was elected into office last April, said his government "would never recognise any unconstitutional regime."
What began as a mutiny over the government's response to the rekindled Tuareg insurrection in the north on Wednesday afternoon turned into a full-blown coup as soldiers seized control of the presidential palace and the official broadcaster.
Coup plotters, calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, went on television early Thursday to announce they had taken over power in the west African country.
Toure's regime came under increasing pressure in recent weeks as the ongoing Al-Qaeda scourge was compounded by an insurrection of the nomadic Tuareg tribe in the north which has forced over 200,000 people to flee their homes.
Key dates in Mali's history
- 1960: Along with most of France's other African colonies, Mali becomes independent. Under president Modibo Keita, it declares itself a socialist state.
- November 1968: Keita is overthrown in a military coup led by Moussa Traore, who becomes "president for life" and rules the country for a total of 22 years.
- 1990: Start of a rebellion by the Tuareg ethnic group in the north of the country. It continues with varying intensity to this day.
- March 1991: Traore is ousted in his turn by a military rebellion which involves heavy street fighting in the capital Bamako and leaves over 100 people dead. Amadou Toumani Toure is installed as president.
- April 1992: The regime holds elections under a new constitution providing for multi-party democracy. Alpha Oumar Konare is elected president; he will be elected for a second five-year term in 1997.
- June 2002: After a new election, Toure returns as president.
- 2003: Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States, and the ensuing US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the arid west African region of which Mali is a part sees an increase in attacks by islamist groups. In the worst incident, 32 European tourists are held for several months in Mali, and one of them dies.
- May-July 2006: New outbreak of fighting between government forces and Tuaregs in the north.
- April 2007: Toure is again declared the winner of a presidential election.
- July 2010: French and Mauritanian forces mount a raid on islamist forces in the northern Malian desert. The main group operating in the vast Sahel region calls itself Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
- 2011: The overthrow of the regime of Moamer Kahdafi in Libya sends large numbers of Tuaregs who had joined his armed forces fleeing back to their home region.
- March 22: Soldiers claiming the state is not giving them the means to fight a northern Tuareg rebellion say they have overthrown Toure's regime and set up a National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy.
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Efforts to save lives in Nigeria with clean cookstoves
Abuja (AFP) March 20, 2012
A UN-linked body launched a campaign in Nigeria on Tuesday aimed at preventing deaths due to toxic smoke from rudimentary cookstoves, one of the developing world's worst public health threats. Some two million people die annually from diseases caused by toxic cookstove smoke, according to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a UN Foundation-led initiative seeking to reverse the trend. ... read more
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