Mali coup leaders face growing criticism

March 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

BAMAKO, Mali, March 24 (UPI) -- Mali's military coup leaders face growing international criticism after overthrowing the county's elected president and arresting his ministers, observers said.

The African Union temporarily suspended Mali, while regional leaders planned an emergency meeting next week in Ivory Coast to discuss the situation, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the World Bank suspended funds, the European Union cut off some aid and the United States threatened to cut aid, while China condemned the coup.

The country has a democratic record, heightening international concern, and it is impoverished and dependent on aid, the Times noted.

President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was to give up power voluntarily with a scheduled election last month, was chased from the presidential palace Wednesday night by the military members who seized power.

The coup leaders criticized the Toure government's handling of a rebellion by nomadic Tuareg tribesmen in northern Mali.

The military members who seized power, led by Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, who received training in the United States between 2004-2010, faced challenges in Mali.

The Tuareg tribesmen claimed another town Thursday, and coup leaders have condemned looting by their own troops in the capital city of Bamako, the Times said.

Toure's whereabouts remained unknown.

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