Assimi Goita Mali junta leader: country suspended by ECOWAS

Assimi Goita, Mali junta leader: officially named interim president

Assimi Goita, who led a coup against the government of Mali in 2020 has been officially named as the interim president on Monday.

The 38-year-old colonel said that he would defend Mali’s constitution and its transition agreements, as he spoke at a ceremony in Bamako.

He also gave his word that he would steer Mali back towards democracy.

The coup, which took place in August, has been the subject of much international criticism.

Both the African Union and ECOWAS, a West African economic community, have suspended Mali’s membership for the time being while they demand the return of civilian government in Mali.

Goita, a colonel, led the coup that unseated Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

After ceding some control to civilian rules, Goita then stepped back into the fray in May, when he pressured interim president Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane to step down.

Goita had himself proclaimed interim president, a move that was formalised with the ceremony.

Mali has been an international hotspot since 2012 when a coup cleared the way for a rebellion from the north.

France has been at the forefront of an alliance of international troops ever since, seeking to maintain calm.

However, the recent power grabs in France have tested Paris’ patience.

France has put some military operations on hold and demanded guarantees that there would be a transition to democracy.

About 5,100 French troops are in Mali to fight Islamist forces. An EU operation is also up and running, as is a UN stabilisation force.

dpa/NAN