Col Assimi Goita, 38, has formaly assumed office as President of Mali’s Transition Government, paving the way for him to name opposition figure Mr Choguel Kokala Maiga, 63, as Prime Minister.
Following the August 2020 military coup that toppled the government of elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Goita was made vice president of a subsequent transition government headed by Bah Ndaw. But Ndaw and his Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were sacked, detained and later released after a “coup within a coup,” also led by Goita on May 24.
The regional bloc ECOWAS and the African Union have suspended Mali’s membership over the latest coup, while France and the U.S. have also suspended military cooperation and support to Mali, with President Macron threatening to pull French troops out of the Sahel.
Some of France’s 5,100 Barkhane forces with headquarters in Chad are based in Mali, especially in the troubled northern and central regions.
Msiga, the prospective Prime Minister and one-time minister of Communications, is a leading member of the influential M5 Movement, which led massive street protests that culminated in Keita’s militarybouster in August 2020.
The Movement and other opposition groups organized a pro-military solidarity rally in Bamako at the weekend, indicating a troubling divergence in domestic and international reactions to the Mali crisis.
Meanwhile, insecurity is escalating in the Sahel region with deadly attacks by Islamist jihadists killing at least 160 civilians in neighbouring Burkina Faso on Saturday.
ECOWAS and the AU are expected to send mediation missions to Bamako as part of international efforts to end the lingering political and security problems in Mali.