Rebel soldiers have mounted a mutiny in Mali, moving to remove the democratically elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure over grievances in the West African nation’s fight against Taureg insurgents.
The troops declared a coup and announced they were shutting the nation’s borders and suspending the constitution after taking over the presidential palace and state broadcasting services. Some government ministers were arrested, but President Toure remains free and unharmed. The coup comes just weeks before the president was to step down and the end of his second term, with elections set for next month.
Mali has been one of the most stable nations in Africa since its independence from France in 1960, a model to which other emerging democracies could look. The recent events have brought universal denunciation by Mali’s neighbors, friends and others in the international community.
The United States condemns the military seizure of power in Mali. We echo the statements of the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and other international partners in calling for calm and restoration of civilian, constitutional rule without delay, so that elections can proceed as scheduled. Political disputes should be resolved with ballots, not bullets.
We stand with the legitimately elected government of President Toure. Mali is a leading democracy in West Africa and its institutions must be respected.