The Associated Press reports that residents in the Northern city of Gao in Mali are not happy after Islamists smashed television sets used to play video games and watch television shows that were considered "un-Islamic." The effort was intended to show residents that they are under Shariah law there. The Islamist fighters took up a strong position in the northern part of the Northeastern African country after they were they pushed back by Malian government troops in March. Since that time they have been "gradually" imposing a strict form of Shariah law on citizens in areas they control.
The news comes from a local resident who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal by the Insurgents. Residents attempted to protest the actions of the militant group in the streets of the city, but were quickly dispersed by gun fire.
A Voice of America report notes that the Obama administration has called on leaders of military coups in both Mali and Guinea Bissau to agree to West African demands to return their countries to democratic rule. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said that the March military coup in Mali was a "glaring exception" to what he sees as democratic progress in Africa.
"Twenty-one years of democratic governance was swept aside by a few mutinous soldiers who seem more concerned about their own welfare than that of the people or the nation they were supposed to be serving," said Carson. "Their action has imperiled Mali's territorial integrity, allowed rebels to take over half of the country, set back the country's economic development, and reduced the government's capacity to respond to drought conditions in the north."
"A short-term transitional government that leads directly to free and fair presidential elections so that Mali can move forward with re-establishing its tradition of democratic governance is required," he added. "The military must step aside completely. Those who have illegally seized power in Mali have no right to remain in power and no strength to address the serious security and humanitarian issues that Mali faces today."