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Police officers patrol in a vehicle as people gather during a... News Photo2012-2013 Northern Mali Conflict,Asking,Bamako,Change,Conflict,Horizontal,Mali,Mode of Transport,People,Police Force,ProtestPhotographer Collection: AFP 2013 AFPPolice officers patrol in a vehicle as people gather during a demonstration on January 9, 2013 in Bamako to ask for ''immediate days of sovereign consultation'' on the transition in Mali. Mali, once considered one of the region's most stable democracies, was plunged into crisis by a March 22 coup that overthrew the elected government and created a power vacuum that enabled Ansar Dine and two Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist groups to seize control of the vast desert north. NATO said on January 9 that it had not been asked to assist a military alliance in resolving the armed conflict in Mali as Burkina Faso's president pushed for renewed talks between Islamist fighters and the Malian government. AFP PHOTO / Habibou Kouyate (Photo credit should read HABIBOU KOUYATE/AFP/Getty Images)