Mali’s military junta is asking west African power bloc ECOWAS for help in defeating the rebel Tuaregs in the north of the country.
Its plea comes despite the regional body’s threat of sanctions if Mali is not restored to constitutional order by Monday.
However, coup participants want ECOWAS to fully appreciate the reasons for seizing power.
“We repeat our invitation to ECOWAS to deepen their analysis of the situation Mali is in at the moment. We ask them to analyse the reasons that caused this situation,” said military junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo.
Sanctions from the 15 member countries would be financial – with Mali’s assets frozen and a financial blockade. Land borders with neighbouring countries would also be closed.
Doctor Benois Dembele in the capital Bamako thought ECOWAS was being too severe: “The sanctions are very harsh and out of proportion. Applying these sanctions is not only against the junta, it’s against the Malian population, which is already impoverished, particularly given the problem of the war in the north. It will only deepen Mali’s weakness and poverty,” Dembele said.
As rebels in the north take advantage of the confusion, reactions to the coup have been mixed in Bamako, with some supporting the junta and others who want President Amadou Toumani Toure reinstated.