Mali Junta Names Retired Colonel As Transitional President

The military junta in Mali, led by Colonel Assimi Goita, has named a retired soldier as the country’s transitional leader.

The new leader, retired army Colonel Bah N’daw – also written as N’daou, was a former defence minister in the West African country. He is expected to oversee Mali’s transition to civilian rule in the next 18 months.

Bah N’daw’s appointment comes a month after the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

Junta leader Assimi Goita will assume the role of vice president, the CNSP said in a statement on its Facebook page Monday.

N’daw will govern Mali for a maximum of 18 months, according to a political charter for the transition negotiated between the junta and political and civil society leaders earlier this month.

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Earlier in September, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called for the appointment of a civilian president and prime minister for a transitional period by September 23, threatening to impose a full embargo on Mali.

Mali’s military, after negotiations with political leaders and representatives of civil society, approved on September 12, “the basic law and roadmap for the transition period’’ in the country.

The parties decided that the transitional period will last 18 months and an interim government will be formed, while the interim president can be either civilian or military.

However, one of the main opposition parties, Mouvement du 5 Juin-Rassemblement des Forces Patriotiques (M5-RFP), has rejected the transition roadmap.

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Colonel Major Bah N’Daw was born in 1950 with a long career in the air force behind him.

He was also once aide-de-camp to Moussa Traoré, a post from which he had resigned. He is considered relatively close to M5, the movement which launched the protest against former President Keita.

The transitional government is to be inaugurated on September 25.

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