01 April 2012
President Touré overthrown in army coup 22 March, constitution suspended; coup followed 20-21 March mutiny in Kati garrison, Feb-March protests demanding better weapons for soldiers fighting rebellion in north; Captain Amadou Sanogo named head of military junta. AU, EU condemned coup, World Bank suspended aid; political parties 24 March ordered renegade soldiers back to barracks; ECOWAS 27 March suspended Mali, heads of state visit initially scheduled 29 March postponed following pro-junta protests in Bamako. Sanogo 1 April said constitution would be reinstated. MNLA Tuareg rebels 10-11 March took strategic town of Tessalit, 31 March took Kidal, 30 March took key garrison town of Gao aided by new rebel group Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), 1 April took Timbuktu; army activated Peul/Songhai self-defence militias Ganda Koy, Ganda Izo to fight rebels; Ganda Izo leader Amadou Diallo and dozen fighters killed in Tinahama late March. Govt troops reportedly beaten back at Tinzawaten, Aguelhok, Kidal by Islamist rebel group Ansar Dine, headed by 1990 Tuareg rebellion leader Iyad ag Ghaly and accused of links with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). MNLA mid-March distanced itself from Ansar Dine, said only seeking independence of Azawad, following 11 March video showing Ansar Dine assault on Aguelhok, Ansar Dine declaration of intent to impose Sharia law. Mauritanian air force 11 March launched air strike against suspected AQIM convoy near Timbuktu following exchange of hostages 10 March, 2 civilians injured.