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Mali coup could jeopardize millions of dollars in U.S. aid

March 23, 2012 |  9:11 am

Mali

A military coup in Mali could jeopardize roughly $100 million in U.S. aid granted to the West African nation by the Millennium Challenge Corp.

As part of the conditions to get funding, the U.S. foreign aid agency requires countries to “demonstrate a clear commitment to good governance, economic freedom and investing in their citizens,” Chief Executive Daniel W. Yohannes said in a statement Thursday.

Mali was granted nearly $461 million over five years to help reduce poverty and support economic growth, focusing investments on its international airport and irrigation from the Niger River.

The grant is due to end in September, but the U.S. agency said it was halting its operations to decide whether to continue. Roughly 70% of the money has been spent so far, according to the agency website.

The agency “condemns the violence and military seizure of power in Mali,” Yohannes stated. “The unconstitutional actions taken by elements of the armed forces of Mali are in direct conflict with MCC’s commitment to democratic governance and the rule of law.”

Soldiers seized power Thursday in a coup, apparently angered by the state struggling to put down a Tuareg rebellion in the north. They declared that the constitution had been suspended, the borders closed and all institutions of power dissolved, The Times' Robyn Dixon reported.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Mali junta leader Capt. Amadou Sanogo poses surrounded by his fellow soldiers in Bamako on Thursday. Credit: Habibou Kouyate / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

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