Mali announces new govt with army in key roles

A man buys a newspaper whose headlines announce a major drawdown of France’s military presence in the Sahel, where forces have been battling jihadist insurgents for nearly a decade, in Bamako on June 11, 2021.French President announced on June 10, 2021 that the existing Barkhane operation would end, with France’s presence becoming part of the so-called Takuba international task force in which “hundreds” of French soldiers would form the “backbone”.

Mali announced a new government on Friday in which key roles were retained by army figures, according to a statement read out on the national broadcaster.

The announcement comes after Colonel Assimi Goita, who led a coup last month, was named transitional president on Wednesday and appointed a civilian as his prime minister.

After the West African ECOWAS bloc imposed sanctions, the military junta handed power to a civilian-led transitional government, which promised to restore civilian rule in February 2022.

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The second coup in nine months sparked diplomatic uproar, with the African Union and the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspending Mali in response.

The former colonial power followed on Thursday by announcing that it would wind down its 5,100-strong Barkhane force that has battled jihadists in the Sahel since 2013.

The colonel appointed a civilian prime minister on Wednesday, in keeping with international demands, and said that he would stage elections next February.

According to the statement announced on Malian television, military officers have received the strategic ministries of defence, security and national reconciliation.


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