An interim leader will likely be sworn in for the troubled state of Mali following the resignation of President Amadou Toumani Toure on Sunday, according to the AFP. Speaker of Parliament Dioncounda Traore met with coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo, who oversaw the overthrow of Toure. Sanogo is stepping down as well.
Here are the latest facts regarding the Malian political strife.
* The West African ECOWAS bloc brokered a deal with military leaders to ensure a "government of national unity" in return for lifting sanctions against the Saharan country.
* On April 7, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon congratulated ECOWAS on negotiating the return to constitutional order, saying that he "urges the junta to ensure the safety and security of all Malian officials, to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees and to refrain from any actions that might undermine the effective implementation of the provisions of the Framework Agreement."
* On April 6, the U.S. State Department indicated that it did not recognize the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA)'s declaration of independence. The Azawad state, the northern region of Mali, has been seized by the rebel group of the past few months. Spokesperson Mark C. Toner stated that the United States will "stand by the African Union, France, and others in their statements rejecting the MNLA's announcement and calling for the unwavering commitment to the national unity of Mali."
* France's Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs noted in a April 6 statement that they "reiterate our support for all the mediation and security efforts undertaken by ECOWAS. We strongly condemn the violence and looting by AQIM militias and Ansar Dine. We also condemn the abductions of Algerian diplomatic and consular staff."
* ECOWAS has threatened to use military intervention to end the MNLA's grip on the region, which is made up of approximately 500 rebels. The group's military gains helped propel the country into a crisis.
* AP reports that the Malian Constitutional Court is convening on Monday to determine what should happen now that both Toure and Sanogo have stepped down. Under Article 36, Dioncounda Traore would take power until elections. However Traore is considered a divisive personality which could complicate efforts to unify the shattered nation, and soldiers have said they were unhappy the military agreed to step down.
* Rebels seized the key cities of Kidal, Gao, and Timbuktu last Friday, prompting them to declare independence. On that day, the coup leaders declared they would be stepping down.
* While some of the fighters claim to be secularist, others wish to impose Sharia law. They have begun to forbid women in the captured cities from leaving home without a veil.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.