by DAVID AXE
Mali, once a strong ally of the U.S. in the fight against Islamic terrorists, is in chaos.
The Economic Community of West African States has imposed sanctions on Mali following a military coup last month that toppled the tiny West African country’s elected government.
There are gasoline shortages and power and water outages.
The March coup by U.S.-trained army Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo opened the door for an alliance of separatists and Islamic rebels in the country’s north to capture wide swaths of territory from the in-flux government. The captured regions includes the city of Timbuktu.
In the capital Bamako, Sanogo formed a ruling committee and reinstated the country’s constitution. But the northern fighting is the biggest concern, Sanogo said. “The danger is not just for Mali. We should forget a little the committee, the parliament, the constitution — that can wait. The serious topic, it’s the north. That’s the most important.”
Now there are rumors of a possible counter-coup targeting Sanogo’s young regime. Also according to rumors, the northern separatists and the Islamists have begun fighting among themselves in and around Timbuktu.
Fearing worsening violence, the Peace Corps is pulling out its volunteers, sources say. But one Peace Corps volunteer in Mali says that’s not true. “The safety and security of our Volunteers is our highest priority,” the organization announced. “All Peace Corps Volunteers in Mali have been accounted for and are safe.”