Mali coup ‘not a failure’, junta chief tells FRANCE 24
Issued on: Modified:
Seemingly helpless to stop a rebel advance in the north, Mali’s junta appear increasingly isolated on the diplomatic front. But their leader, Captain Amadou Sanogo, tells FRANCE 24 he is determined to “restore Mali’s territorial integrity”.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a failure,” says Captain Amadou Sanogo of the military coup that brought him to power on March 22. Neither the chaos spreading across northern Mali, where Tuareg rebels have captured several strategic towns, nor the increasing isolation of his military junta, have rattled the mid-ranking army officer who is now Mali’s most powerful man.
“We are doing all we can to restore order and unity across the Malian territory,” Sanogo told FRANCE 24’s correspondents in the Malian capital, Bamako, in an exclusive interview on Saturday.
The junta leader blamed “a decade of decay” for the army’s string of defeats in the north, where rebel forces have captured the town of Kidal and threaten to overrun the nearby city of Gao.
The regular army’s continuing retreat has proved particularly embarrassing for the junta, which ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré on March 22 because of the latter’s apparent inability to quash the insurgency.
“The damage caused over the past 10 years cannot be fixed in a week,” argued Sanogo.
On Friday, the coup leader urged foreign countries to come to Mali’s aid, warning that the Tuareg rebellion could undermine the region’s stability.
But his military leadership has come under fierce criticism from neighbouring countries and Western powers alike.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has condemned the military coup in Mali and called for a return to the constitutional order.
Having suspended Mali earlier this week, ECOWAS has warned it will proceed to impose a “diplomatic and financial” embargo on the junta if it fails to return power to a civilian government by Monday.