New developments today. Presidents from 5 different West African countries representing ECOWAS, the African regional bloc of nations, were scheduled to meet with the coup leader today to negotiate a resolution. Protestors supporting the coup blocked the runway of Bamako International Airport and the plane was forced to turn around. As a result, in 72 hours, Mali will be cut off from all imports and the money supply from the central bank will be blocked. Because Mali is landlocked, the country relies on imports of everything from food to fuel. These are powerful sanctions that will cripple Mali. In addition, peacekeeping troops are standing by to enter Mali. There were also other protests around Bamako today that turned violent as supporters and opponents of the coup faced off.
In other news, because the military is focused on controlling Mali with the coup, their attention has been drawn away from the original problem of a separate Tuareg rebellion happening in the north of Mali. Today, the town of Kidal came under heavy attack and is in jeopardy of falling into rebel Tuareg hands. Kidal is considered a key town in the fight to take over the north. This will give the Tuareg rebellion a considerable advantage in the fight. Ironically enough, the coup that overthrew Mali’s democracy was waged because the military felt they weren’t given enough resources to fight in the north. The low ranking, inexperienced leader of the coup felt he could do a better job defending the north of Mali. Now because of his actions, the north is in serious jeopardy of falling to the rebellion due to the military’s focus on the coup and all outside aid to the military being suspended.