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New Mali president talks tough with Tuareg rebels

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New Mali president talks tough with Tuareg rebels


A civilian government has been restored to Mali with the swearing in of acting president, Dioncounda Traore.
The month-long coup and rule by military junta has been replaced by the parliamentary speaker taking up the top job for an interim period. 
Traore will now have 40 days to organise new elections. The ballot had originally been scheduled for later this month, as ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure was due to step down after two terms in power, before the coup took place.
A major challenge for Traore will be dealing with the situation in the north. Islamist Tuareg rebels have seized control of key northern towns, including Timbuktu and Gao, where they are allegedly trying to introduce sharia law.
Traore says he wants to negotiate with the Tuareg separatists, but also stated, failing that, “We will not hesitate to wage a total and relentless war”.
As Malians flee into neighbouring countries, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres is warning that this puts another strain on the Sahel region, which is already prone to humanitarian crises.  

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