Mali's 'Very Existence' Threatened by Coup

Fears of food, gas shortages as refugees flee

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2012 4:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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.

Coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, center, is accompanied by Burkina Faso Foreign Affairs Minister Djibril Bassole as he addresses the press at junta headquarters outside Bamako April 1, 2012.
Coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, center, is accompanied by Burkina Faso Foreign Affairs Minister Djibril Bassole as he addresses the press at junta headquarters outside Bamako April 1, 2012.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
People walk among stalls at the Grand Market in Bamako, Mali, Saturday, March 31, 2012.
People walk among stalls at the Grand Market in Bamako, Mali, Saturday, March 31, 2012.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
A Malian soldier takes position as the junta leader speaks on April 3 at Kati military camp near Bamako.
A Malian soldier takes position as the junta leader speaks on April 3 at Kati military camp near Bamako.   (Getty Images)
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