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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Mali’s junta leader declares himself president, frees ex-prexy, PM

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The leader of Mali’s 2020 coup, Col Assimi Goïta, has declared himself the country’s president, hours after the release of Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and President Bah Ndaw from custody.

President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were arrested Monday, along with other government leaders, hours after naming a new cabinet that did not include two major former junta leaders.

While in detention, N’Daw dismissed the prime minister before handing in his own resignation letter, according to a military official and a West African diplomat involved in mediations.

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Goïta has been serving as the transitional vice president since September. He pledged to go ahead with holding new elections in 2022 as previously promised, but his display of force casts doubt on whether the vote will go ahead.

The move also raised concerns that the new political unrest could further destabilise efforts to control Mali’s long-running Islamic insurgency.

The United Nations now spends some 1.2 billion US dollars annually on a peacekeeping mission in Mali and France’s military has spent eight years trying to stabilise its former colony amid the ongoing threat.

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