Home World News Assimi Goïta seizes power in Mali

Assimi Goïta seizes power in Mali

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Mali’s president and prime minister have been ousted by the officer who led last year’s coup and became vice-president of an interim government.

Col Assimi Goïta says President Bah Ndaw and PM Moctar Ouane failed in their duties and were seeking to sabotage the country’s transition.

They were arrested hours after a government reshuffle which saw two senior army officers replaced.

Col Goïta says elections will still go ahead next year as planned.

But he ignored pleas from the UN chief, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), the EU and the US that the president and prime minister be released without any preconditions.

The two men have been held at a military camp outside the capital, Bamako, since they were arrested on Monday evening.

A delegation from Ecowas is expected in Bamako. Last year, Ecowas threatened sanctions unless a caretaker government under civilian leadership took over from the military.

Now that Col Goïta has effectively torn up that agreement by taking charge, it is not clear what the repercussions will be.

But France, the former colonial power, has threatened EU sanctions against the perpetrators, with President Emmanuel Macron describing it as a “coup within a coup”, Reuters news agency reports.

Col Goïta has asked people to go about their business as usual and promises the military is committed to the transitional deal.

A leading member of Mali’s M5 RFP group, which had been critical of the prime minister, says it has been asked to put forward a candidate for next prime minister.

Soya Djigue told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that the removal of the interim leaders was inevitable after they failed to consult the military about changes in the government, and failed to resolve the ongoing strike.

Until recently M5 RFP had threatened to go back to the streets at the beginning of June because of the growing discontent.

It is difficult to enact reforms quickly – and the vast landlocked country is poor, with large areas underdeveloped.

A previous coup in 2012 led to militant Islamists exploiting the chaos and seizing the north of the country.

French troops helped regain territory, but attacks continue as the insurgents have capitalised on the persistent political instability in the region.

This has all led to public confidence waning over the army leaders’ ability to tackle the Islamist insurgency that has spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

-BBC

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