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Mali Risks Second Coup Without Intervention, Crisis Group Says

Mali may face a second coup and West Africa risks the spread of religious extremism if there is no international support for the country’s response to armed groups that have taken control of the north, according to the International Crisis Group.

All scenarios are possible in the landlocked nation, “including another military coup and social unrest in the capital,” the Brussels-based group said in an e-mailed report published today. That may create “chaos that could allow religious extremism and terrorist violence to spread in Mali and beyond.”

In March, President Amadou Toumani Toure was overthrown in a military coup, creating a power vacuum in the southern capital, Bamako. That opened up the country’s north to an influx of armed groups and religious extremists, some linked to al-Qaeda.

Leaders in Mali have been unable to agree on what kind of international assistance to request and haven’t given a clear direction to the post-coup transition, ICG said in the report. Neither interim President Dioncounda Traore, Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra nor ex-junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo has popular legitimacy or the ability to prevent an escalation of the crisis that has unfolded since the coup, according to the report.

“The use of force will probably be necessary to neutralize transnational armed groups that indulge in terrorism, jihadism and drug and arms trafficking and to restore Mali’s territorial integrity,” according to the ICG report.

A high-level meeting on the Sahel security situation will be held in New York on Sept. 26 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, according to ICG.

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