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Northern Mali is now in the hands of Tuaregs and “al Qaeda” Islamic Radicals, while Southern Mali still in uncertain times: Dioncounda Traore, a President for 40 days?


Military commander of Ansar al-Din and member of the new ´Islamic´ Northern Mali, Omar Hamaha.The leader of Ansar al Din is Iyad ag Ghali

Captain Sanogo wants to keep power.

The head of Mali’s military junta made it clear on Monday that he would have a powerful say over how the country was run in the weeks ahead and did not want foreign forces helping reclaim the country’s north from separatist rebels.

In televised comments, Captain Amadou Sanogo said Monday that he would decide with Ecowas (West African countries alliance) how the country would be run after the 40 days usually set out in the country’s Constitution for a transition of power.

“It was very clear in the framework agreement that after 40 days we would sit down with Ecowas to decide on another team to lead the transition,” Sanogo said.

Under Mali’s Constitution, it is the president of the national assembly who takes over for a maximum period of 40 days until elections can be organised after the presid

Former President Amadou Toumani Toure´s  loyalists still fighting.

The chief of the Malian soldiers who staged a recent coup said in a written statement shown on state TV early on Tuesday after nighttime clashes that “the situation is under control”.

Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo said his troops were in control of the capital’s airport, the state TV and radio station and the Kati army barracks following clashes with loyalists of ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure.

Another putschist later appeared on state TV surrounded by military officers to declare the situation was “secure”.

He said “ill-intentioned individuals” had launched attacks on the airport and other locations in order to “destabilise the return to constitutional order”.

“These locations are now secure,” he said.

Despite the assurances, there was confusion in the capital Bamako where loyalist forces of the presidential guard appeared to have staged a counter-coup following the putsch of March 22.

Early in the night, a regional diplomatic source indicated that the Bamako airport was under the control of loyalist forces.

The situation remained unclear near the headquarters of the state TV and radio station, which had been partly controlled by the “red berets” presidential guard before renewed firefights, local media said.

By all accounts, the fighting appeared to have centred around the military camp of Kati, the headquarters of the former ruling junta, located about 15km from the capital.

Sankore Mosque - Historical TIMBUKTU, now in the hands of al qaeda simpatizers.

Outcome of the coup is a Northern Mali Islamic Nation with an area larger than France.

After former President Toure was forced from power, the Tuareg rebels succeeded in taking the three largest towns in the north. Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu all fell last weekend, and on Friday, the same day that the junta declared they were stepping down, the rebels declared their independence.

The loss of the northern half of the country, an area larger than France, has plunged Mali into crisis. The fighters are divided between a secular group (former Libyan mercenaries working for Gaddafi) and an Islamist faction that wants to impose Sharia law in Mali’s moderate north.

It’s unclear which of the factions has the upper hand, though increasingly it appears that Ansar Dine, the Islamist group, has greater sway, including in Timbuktu, where they control the city, whereas the secular group is relegated to the airport.

The western media do not define the new rulers as Tuareg rebels but “Al Qaeda” terrorists.

The Telegraph informed that “the rebels, armed with weapons stolen from Muammar Gaddafi’s formidable arsenal, took over an area of the Sahara as big as France in an astonishing 72 hours, taking advantage of the chaotic aftermath of an army coup.

Few of the people they promised to free waited to find out what freedom would be like. Instead, an estimated 250,000 people left their homes, terrified families fleeing with their children and possessions. Many told tales of looting and rape by rebels who now control a vast area in the heart of Africa.

Foreign governments were left scrambling to find out exactly who the rebels were, amid fears that a base for al-Qaeda will now be set up in the Sahara similar to ones in lawless parts of Pakistan and Somalia.

“Our law is a legal war, a sacred war, in the name of Islam,” a bearded leader of the Ansar al Din militia called Omar Hamaha told his supporters in Timbuktu soon after they took control of the ancient caravan town. “READ MORE HERE