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Mali enters second day after coup
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2012-03-23 23:45

Mali entered the second day after a newly formed military junta announced the takeover from President Amadou Toumani Toure on Thursday morning, citing his inability to curb the separatist rebellion in the north.

Calm was witnessed in the capital Bamako of the West African country early Friday, although the situation remains tense after a series of major developments.

The junta is facing mounting pressure from the international community to return to the constitutional order, while the northern Tuareg rebels are taking advantage of the coup to move south.

The whereabouts of President Toure remain unknown although a source close to him says he is still at the command of loyalist soldiers at a camp in the capital.

The National Committee for Redressment of Democracy and Restoration of State (CNRDRE) set up by mutineers on Friday said it will meet with civil society groups in the day to discuss a solution.

The CNRDRE spokesman Amadou Konare said the committee had also invited senior officials of various ministries at its headquarters. The junta urged public workers to return to their posts next day after announcing an end to Toure's rule on Thursday.

While some reports said the proposed meetings were postponed, others said some members of the Malian civil society had already met with the CNRDRE president, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, at his base at Kati, 15 km from the capital Bamako.

The CNRDRE also said it had received congratulatory messages, especially from the opposition party, the African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence (SADI), the Union of Malian Judges and a union of economic operators.

Internationally, the voice of opposition is becoming stronger with the EU temporarily suspending development operations in Mali and the U.S. aid group Millennium Challenge Corporation halting operations in the country.

The African Union (AU) on Thursday voiced strongly condemnation of the coup, reiterated Africa's zero tolerance for any unconstitutional change of government and its total rejection of any seizure of power by force.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the mutiny, calling for the immediate restoration of constitutional rule in Mali.

A statement of the UN Security Council said, "They (the council members) call on these elements to ensure the safety and security of President Amadou Toumani Toure and to return to their barracks. "

The crisis is seen as an opportunity by northern rebels to push southward. In their latest advances, the rebels claimed control of the town of Anefis, but the allegation was denied by the military.

Northern Mali has been the theater of deadly confrontations between the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the Malian army since Jan. 17.

The MNLA was formed on Oct. 16, 2011, after the regrouping of Tuareg rebels, of whom many reportedly returned from Libya with military equipment including portable missile systems. They used to be employed by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as mercenaries.

The MNLA is the latest formation of the rebel movement seeking independence of an Azawad land composed of three northern regions of Timbuktoo, Gao and Kidal.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in the northern conflict, with many fleeing into neighboring countries, causing fearing of a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

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