Since we last checked in, the situation in Mali following a soldiers' coup has spiraled, with rising concerns over food and gas shortages, violence, and indeed the country's "very existence," according to Le Monde. An update:
- The coup has driven more than 200,000 people from their homes to other parts of the region, the AP reports. The UN worries that major food shortages could be imminent, and "mayhem in these towns and cities is increasing," says a rep.
- Neighboring countries have established an embargo against the rebels who ousted the president; they've closed off their borders and frozen the country's regional bank account. That has prompted residents of Mali, which imports all its fuel, to rush to gas stations to collect fuel. The country's electricity grid may also be headed for failure.
- UNESCO is citing a threat to Timbuktu, a World Heritage Site full of "architectural wonders," notes the BBC. Mosques there are "essential to the preservation of the identity of the people of Mali," says the group.
- Yet "nothing seems to be able to stop" the Tuareg coup, Le Monde reports. West African leaders need to help Mali's military fight back before the instability spreads beyond the country's borders.