Thursday, 19 April 2012

Mali's former president Toumani in Senegal's embassy

In a joint press conference in Paris with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, Senegal's President Macky Sall said Mali's ousted leader is in the country at the Senegalese embassy. He noted: “President Amadou Toumani Toure [is] at this moment on the territory of the residence of the embassy of Senegal in Bamako."

Until recently, Toure's whereabouts since last month's military coup were unknown. The news of his whereabouts follows the arrest of several of his political allies this week.

Toure formally resigned on April 8, as part of a deal for the soldiers to hand back power. Mali's former prime minister Modi Sidibe was picked up by men in military police cars and reportedly taken to Kati, just outside the capital, Bamako, to the headquarters of the rebel soldiers. Reports later emerged that Defence Minister Sadio Gassama and the man responsible for the former president's personal security chief of staff Gen Hamidou Sissoko are also being detained by the military.

Speaking about the latest developments in Mali, Sall said: “This is a troubling situation." He added that West African leaders were "trying to find a rapid and peaceful solution first of all internally so we can return to the normal constitutional regime and then deal with the partition of Mali."

Since the coup, Tuareg and Islamist militants have taken over the majority of the northern desert region. The former have declared independence for the region, a move resisted by the civilian and military authorities as well as Islamist elements.

Sources: Reuters, AP, BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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