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A timeline of Mali unrest

A timeline of the political developments in Mali since the beginning of 2012

AFP, Saturday 7 Apr 2012
Mali
People gather on a street after the Malian army staged a coup d'etat in the capital Bamako March 22, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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Key events in the divided west African state of Mali since the beginning of the year, after coup leaders agree a peace deal with the Economic Community of West African States.

JANUARY, 2012
- 17-18: Tuareg rebels launch an offensive in the northern desert region where the nomadic tribe seeks autonomy, in a new rebellion boosted by the return of heavily armed fighters from Libya's conflict. On the 24th, the government says that members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are working with the rebels of the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA).

MARCH
- 20: Islamist group Ansar Dine claims control of the vast northeast.
- 22: Mutinous soldiers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo announce that they have overthrown the Bamako government, saying it has failed to give the armed forces the means to defeat the rebellion.
The new leaders detain President Amadou Toumani Toure and suspend the constitution.
- 30-31: Tuareg groups in the north, some allied with the regional branch of Al-Qaeda, capture a string of key towns, including Kidal and Gao.

APRIL
- 2: Ansar Dine seizes control of the legendary desert town of Timbuktu, the last major centre in Mali's north not to have fallen into the hands of rebels, and chases out fighters of the MNLA with whom they captured the city.


- 5: Coup leader Sanogo calls on the West to intervene in northern Mali against the armed Islamist groups.
- 6: The MNLA declares independence in the north on its website and on French television in a move rejected by the African Union and France as well as the Islamists.
The junta and the West African bloc ECOWAS announce a deal that includes the lifting of sanctions and an amnesty for those involved in the coup, plus a framework for a return to constitutional rule under an interim leader who will oversee democratic elections and handle the crisis in the north.

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