Tuaregs advance as junta claims control across Mali
BAMAKOTuareg rebels closed in on a key city in northern Mali yesterday, taking advantage of a power vacuum in Bamako where coup leader insisted they were in firm control after ousting the government.
As the junta condemned widespread looting in the capital and struggled to restore order, soldiers in the distant north recruited militia to help them fight Tuareg rebels waging a battle for independence. Tuareg rebel group Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) said its fighters had surrounded one of the north’s main towns where, they said, they would apply Islamic sharia law, according to Agence France-Presse.Mali’s U.S.-trained coup leader said March 24 he is in control of the country, has no fears of a countercoup and wants peace talks with the rebels whose northern rebellion was the trigger that led him to oust a democratically elected president. Capt. Amadou Sanogo stressed the importance of unity for the West African nation in an interview with the Associated Press in Bamako.