On the evening of March 22, junior officers in Mali’s army calling themselves the “National Committee for the Re-establishment of Democracy and the Restoration of the State” took control of the state TV and announced the suspension of the constitution and immediate transfer of power to themselves. Tuareg and Islamist rebels in the north of the country then used the leadership void in the capital to embark on an offensive that saw them take three major northern towns – Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal – in three consecutive days, effectively dividing the country in two.
Although regional body ECOWAS has held mediation talks with the military junta, leading to the establishment of constitutional rule and an interim president, Bamako is reeling from the coup’s aftershocks. The Malian political class is in shambles, the country is divided and thousands of northerners have fled to the capital, leaving their homes to escape the violence.
But for now, a calm prevails over Bamako as its residents gather their spirits to face the colossal task of rebuilding their beloved country.