“Free the North” and “the State also in the North” are some of the slogans chanted yesterday by hundreds of Malians from the northern regions, who have taken refuge in Bamako, during a sit in organized in the capital to call on the government and international community to “promptly intervene” to resolve the crisis in the North, for the past three months in the hands of Islamic rebels and Tuareg.
“For almost 100 days our people have been living in anguish and terror, but the government hasn’t taken action. It hasn’t decided to send troops to the front or negotiate. We have come to an impasse”, said Arbonka Boubeye Maïga, secretary of the Collective of farmers of the North (Coren) that organized the demonstration.
A similar appeal arrived from the parliament of Bamako. In a report entitled “Restoring territorial integrity”, the legislators urge Malians to “strongly resist to the occupation and reinforce solidarity with all possible means”. For days the main city of Gao has been in the hands of the Islamist Ansar al Din that prevailed over the Tuareg of the National Liberation Movement of Azawad (MNLA).
The two appeals come from Bamako amid a political stalemate in the transition, but also in the regional and international diplomacy. On one side there is growing tension between political forces on the administration of the transition and crisis in the North, especially after the forced exit of interim president Dioncounda Traoré, who was injured in an attack last May. In addition to the power struggles, there are also divisions between movements in favour and against the military junta, responsible for the March 22 coup and that still has a certain influence on the institutions.
On an international level, a United Nations Security Council resolution is attended to give the go ahead to a regional and/or African armed intervention in the northern regions of Mali. Pressures are arriving from France and also West African nations, especially Niger and Guinea, while so far nearby Algeria has been more reticent.
Mediators of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) announced that Traoré will attend the summit set for Saturday in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, where a national unity government should be formed, with the participation of all the main political parts and representatives of the civil society. The unity government will also be headed by the current premier Cheick Modibo Diarra. The ECOWAS stressed the necessity for an inclusive government to resolve the crisis in the North. The regional bloc also announced the decision to lift the statute of former head of state of the junta leader, captain Amadou Sanogo, and all the benefits he was conceded in May on the signing of the accords for a return to civil power.