He led a coup within a coup.. Assemi Goetta as interim president of Mali

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On Friday, Mali’s Constitutional Court appointed General Assemi Goetta as interim president, following two military coups he led within months.

He ignored international and regional pressures and threats to impose sanctions on his military council.

In his first statements after his appointment as interim president of Mali, Guetta said that within days he would appoint a prime minister from the opposition.

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And this after he ousted the country’s interim president Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Mukhtar Wan.

Born in 1983, Guetta is a military officer and head of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, and the military council that seized power from former President Ibrahim Abu Bakr Keita in a coup he led last August.

He was leading the Malian Special Forces in the center of the country with the rank of colonel, after receiving training from the United States, France and Germany, and confronting the extremist armed groups in the country.

August 2020 coup

Colonel Guetta led a military coup on August 18, 2020 against President Ibrahim Abubakar Keita, amid popular protests over corruption and the government’s failure to eliminate armed groups.

He later marginalized the opposition movement, the Rally of National Forces (M5), which had led the protests against Abu Bakr Keita.

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Sharing power with civilians

After he led the August 2020 coup, Guetta faced international and regional pressure from the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS).

In addition to threats of sanctions, he was forced to share power with civilians.

Mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) insisted that the transition in Mali be run by a civilian leadership.

Which is scheduled to end with elections in February.

In a joint declaration, the group emphasized that the transitional vice president “can in no way replace the president.”

Colonel Guetta was appointed as transitional vice president, Bah Ndaw, and Gwit loyalists held the most important ministerial portfolios, on top of which are the defense and security portfolios.

On the other hand, Bah Ndaw was chosen to head the country and Mukhtar Wan as prime minister, for a transitional period that extends for 18 months and ends next March with the date of elections.

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May 2021 coup

The transitional government faced difficulties on several levels, which prompted the Prime Minister to submit his resignation to President Ndau, who re-assigned him to form a new government.

The recent cabinet reshuffle removed Defense Minister Sadio Camara and Security Minister Modibo Kony, the two leading members of the military council.

Which was formed after the coup in the summer of 2020, and were appointed each of General Suleiman Doukuri and General Mamadou Lamine Palu, respectively, in their place.

Observers saw that the amendments that Wan made to the government, in consultation with President Ndaw, made it clear that they aimed to weaken the wing of the putschist leader Guetta through an alliance with another wing in the army.

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This prompted Guetta to initiate a second coup this month, by ordering the arrest of both the transitional president Bah Ndaw, the prime minister, Mukhtar Wan, along with the new defense minister.

The three were taken to a barracks in the town of “Kati” near the capital, Bamako, from which the August coup began.

The leader of the putschists implicitly hinted that the president sought to marginalize him, and that the government reshuffle took place without consulting him.

Although he “assumes the powers of the ministries of defense and security,” he considers this move a “violation of the Charter of the Transitional Council,” which was formed after the ouster of the former president, according to a statement released recently by Guetta.

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Widespread condemnation of the coup

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council condemned the military coup in Mali, and France and the European Union threatened sanctions.

The African Union is expected to suspend Mali from its bodies.

Asimi Guetta announced late Friday his intention to appoint a prime minister from the opposition.

He pointed out that the prime minister who will support him will be from the opposition “M5” National Forces Movement.

It led protests against the former president, which were marginalized by the military after the August coup.