The former defense minister appointed Mali's transfer leader


Mali's military junta on Monday announced the leaders of a new interim government in the southern state, which will maintain strong military ties despite international pressure to recruit civilians after the uprising.

The former defense minister appointed Mali's transfer leader


Junta Party leader Col. Assimi Goita has said in a televised statement that former Defense Minister Bah Ndaw will become interim president - while he himself will serve as vice president.

The announcement comes after the 15-member West African group ECOWAS gave Mali's ruling officials "days" to appoint civilian leaders, warning they would not lift sanctions on the country.

West African leaders imposed financial sanctions on August 18 in the wake of a military coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The junta said last week that it would prioritize the military over the transition.

Nanda, a 70-year-old retiree, was appointed’ transition president by a junta-selected committee, Goita said Monday.

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

He added that the committee had also taken into account the "global perspective" when selecting Ndaw, with a clear reference to pressure from ECOWAS, which has not yet commented on the appointment.

- Helicopter Pilot -

Ndaw is a former helicopter pilot who was once an aide to former Mali dictator Moussa Traore who died last week at the age of 83.

He has since held a series of high-level appointments: Air Force Chief of Staff, Director of Military Engineering, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the National Guard, among others.

He later served as defense minister under ousted President Kata.

An experienced soldier, Anne Dow trained in the former Soviet Union as well as in the famous Ecole de Guerre in Paris.

Monday's announcement follows a three-day forum with representatives of political parties and civil society earlier this month, which outlined a roadmap for restoring civil governance in Mali.

According to a charter from the forum, the transition president's goal is to rule the country for 18 months before elections are’ held.

Delegates had hotly debated the role of the military in the transitional government, with some arguing for the transfer of power to civilians in line with the wishes of the ECOWAS wishes.

In Bamako, opinion on the nomination was divided’.

"I would have liked to have chosen a politician," said economist Ben Ali sociologist. Economist Ben Alley Toure said.

But taxi driver Nouhoum Fombawas satisfied.

"He is apolitical. He is also a career soldier, he has been the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and he holds senior positions in the military," he said.

Strict restrictions.

Mali's neighbors, worried that the resistance could be in turmoil, are pressuring the junta to hand over power quickly.

Two days after the uprising, ECOWAS stopped financial and trade with Mali, except for basic necessities, drugs, coronavirus fighting equipment, fuel, and electricity.

These sanctions could result in the already severe economic downturn in the poor country, as well as a dynamic jihadist insurgency and chronic interfaith violence.

It was the state's failure that rocked the streets earlier this year, with months of protests and unrest leading to military arrests of President Keita and the seizure’ of control.

Goita said the swearing-in ceremony would be held’ on Friday.


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