Mali Appoints Ex-defence Minister As Transition Govt Leader | CABLE REPORTERS

Mali’s military junta announced the leaders of a new transition government in the Sahel state on Monday, which will retain strong army links despite international pressure to appoint civilians after a coup.

Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita said in a televised statement that former defence minister Bah Ndaw would become transition president — while he himself would serve as vice president.

The announcement comes after the 15-nation West Africa bloc ECOWAS last week gave Mali’s ruling officers “days” to appoint civilian leaders, warning that it would not lift sanctions on the country otherwise.

West African leaders imposed sanctions on Mali — including a trade embargo and shuttered borders — in the wake of the August 18 military coup that ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The junta said last week that it would prefer the military to run the transition, however.

Ndaw, a 70-year-old retiree, was appointed transition president by a committee chosen by the junta, Goita said on Monday.

“Each proposal has its advantages and its disadvantages,” he said, referring to the choice between a civilian or military president.

He added that the committee had taken “a global context” into account when picking Ndaw, in an apparent reference to pressure from ECOWAS, which has yet to comment on the appointment.

  • Tough Sanctions 

Western African countries, who are anxious the restive country could spiral into chaos, have been pressuring the junta to swiftly hand over power.

Two days after the coup, ECOWAS stopped financial and commercial trade with Mali, except for basic necessities, drugs, equipment to fight coronavirus, fuel and electricity.

The sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn as well as a simmering jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.

It was these state failures that provoked people into the streets earlier this year, with months of protests and unrest building up to the military arresting president Keita and seizing control.

A swearing-in ceremony will take place on Friday, Goita said.


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