‘Coup within a coup’ in Mali, as president and prime minister detained

The man who led a military coup in Mali last year has seized power after dismissing the country’s president and prime minister on Tuesday, in what the French president described as “a coup within a coup”. Mali’s interim vice president, Colonel Assimi Goita, took control of the country a day after the other two men were “kidnapped” from their homes and detained by army officers. He said he stripped the civilian leaders of their duties for attempting to “sabotage” the political transition, adding that “the scheduled elections will be held in 2022.” “The vice president of the transition saw himself obligated to act to preserve the transitional charter and defend the republic,” Col Goita said in a statement read by an aide on national television. The announcement threw Mali, which has been battling a fast-growing jihadist insurgency, into political instability once again after former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was ousted in a coup by disgruntled military officers in August 2020. After weeks of protests against former president Keita, known as IBK, who was heavily criticised for his inability to control the insurgency and widespread government corruption, military officers encircled his home, fired shots into the air and made him resign on national television under duress. President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were appointed in September, under international pressure to form a transitional government which was due to last 18 months, before new presidential elections were to be held in February 2022. But the junta retained strong control over Mali’s administration and held key ministries. Then on Monday, some of the officials who had supported last year’s coup were sidelined from the defence and security ministries, two key roles, after growing criticism of the interim government. Just over an hour after the reshuffle was announced, army officials forcibly took Mr N’Daw and Mr Ouane from their homes and held them at Kati’s military headquarters, just outside of the capital Bamako. The move has sparked widespread international anger. Britain, the European Union and the United Nations condemned the move, calling for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Mali’s civilian leaders, who are still detained. The European Council said it “strongly condemns the kidnapping” of Mali’s leaders, and was considering targeted sanctions against the coup leaders. “What has been led by, again, the military putschists, is an unacceptable coup within the coup, which calls for our immediate condemnation,” French president Emmanuel Macron said after a European summit in Brussels. “We are ready, in the next few hours if the situation was not clarified, to take targeted sanctions on the protagonists.”

news.yahoo.com