United Nations officials and the Security Council have condemned the rebellion by elements of the Malian armed forces, which have announced the dissolution of the Government and seized control of the country, and called for a return to constitutional rule.
According to media reports, rebel troops appeared on Malian state television to announce they had taken control of the country, with soldiers saying a curfew was in force and that the constitution had been suspended. The mutiny that reportedly occurred on Wednesday also involved an attack on the presidential palace.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “calls on those responsible to refrain from any actions that could increase violence and further destabilize the country,” his spokesperson said in a statement. He also called for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule in the country.
General Assembly President Abdulaziz Al-Nasser echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks and denounced “all reported acts of violence, lawlessness and looting.”
Both officials reiterated the UN’s readiness to assist the Government and people of Mali to preserve stability and democracy in the country.
Members of the Security Council strongly condemned the “forcible seizure of power” from the democratically-elected Government of Mali, after receiving a closed-door briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on the latest developments.
In a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, the 15-member body called on the rebel soldiers to ensure the safety and security of President Amadou Toumani Toure, and return to their barracks.
“The members of the Security Council call for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule and the democratically-elected government,” the statement added.
Speaking with UN Radio today, the Special Representative for the Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit, said the news of the rebellion was met with disappointment by the international community, and reiterated the need for all actors in the African country to engage in dialogue to ensure stability.
Anger among the rebel troops had reportedly been mounting since January over a lack of support from the Government to help them fight against Tuareg rebels in the northern part of the country.
Renewed fighting between Government troops and the Tuareg has forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes, leaving them in dire need of shelter, food, and other basic needs.
On Tuesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it would boost assistance for those who have been uprooted by the conflict, many of whom are living in camps in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger.
UNHCR also appealed last month for $35.6 million to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis as the overall number of people who have crossed from Mali into neighbouring countries now stands at close to 80,000, according to official tallies.