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Ex-Mali president in treason probe

AFP-JIJI

Mali’s government has asked for former President Amadou Toumani Toure to be prosecuted for “high treason” for allegedly allowing the northern half of the country to fall to armed Islamists, a judicial source said on Saturday.

The newly elected national assembly will decide whether to allow the legal proceedings to go ahead after ministers referred Toure to the Supreme Court, the source said.

Toure was overthrown by a group of midlevel army officers in March last year. The officers believed he had failed to provide adequate support for their fight against Tuareg separatists, toppling what had been heralded as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies.

The coup precipitated a crisis in which al-Qaida-linked groups seized control of the country’s north, ruling with a brutal vision of Islamic law until a French-led military intervention forced them out.

Toure is accused of facilitating “the penetration and installation of foreign forces in the country, notably by not offering them any resistance,” according to a government statement released late on Friday.