Mali coup chief names new cabinet with army officers in key posts

WEEKS after leading Mali’s second coup in nine months, Colonel Assimi Goita has named a new cabinet in the country’s transitional government, with military officers receiving the strategic ministries of defence, security and national reconciliation.

An announcement on national television on Friday said Colonel Sadio Camara (pictured), one of the leaders of the August 2020 coup that removed former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, had been restored as defence minister.

Goita, who was vice president in the transitional administration that was eventually formed after Keita’s overthrew, orchestrated in late May another coup that removed interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.

The colonel accused the pair of failing to consult him about a cabinet reshuffle that would have replaced Camara from his post, as well as Modibo Kone, who had been in charge of security.

Kone was not included in the new government lineup. Another colonel, Daoud Aly Mohammedine, was appointed security minister.

Goita, who was vice president under the previous transitional government, was sworn in this week as interim president despite international condemnation of last month’s coup.

The African Union and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc have suspended Mali, while France, which has thousands of troops stationed in the war-torn country, also suspended military cooperation.

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to wind down his country’s 5,100-strong military operation battling armed groups across West Africa’s Sahel region.

Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, who has reported extensively on Mali, said many of the cabinet members were ‘familiar names’ as they were members of the military government.

‘A new face is Abdoulaye Diop, who will be the minister of foreign affairs,’ Haque said. ‘He will have the tough task to rebuild relations with international actors, notably ECOWAS who has put Mali under sanctions and has suspended the country from the union – but most importantly, to re-establish connection with France.’

Goita has appointed a civilian prime minister, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, in keeping with international demands, and said he would stage elections in February 2022.


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