MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian Emergencies Ministry plane carrying humanitarian aid has touched down in Mali, the ministry confirmed on Saturday.
“The IL-76 touched down in Mali at 13:15 Moscow time” the ministry said. The plane is loaded with just over 35 tons of aid ranging from grain and preserved food to blankets and tents.
On March 22, a military coup took place in the country, overthrowing President Amadou Touman Toure. The military had long been dissatisfied with the authorities’ response to armed kidnappings by Tuareg tribesmen in the north. After the coup, the “National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and Formation of the State” was formed.
The situation in the country was further complicated by events in neighboring Libya, where the ruling Gaddafi regime fell in 2011. The return to Mali of the Tuareg’s armed fighters, the MNLA, which had been used as protection by the former Libyan leader, led to a separatist war and formation in April of unrecognized separatist state of Azawad, occupying a third of Mali’s territory.