AFP

Ex-defence minister appointed Mali's transition leader 21 September 2020 - 18:55

Mali's ruling military junta on Monday appointed former defence minister Bah Ndaw president of a new transition government in the Sahel country, announcing the choice on national television. According to a roadmap backed by the junta, the new president is meant to lead the country for 18 months before staging elections and returning Mali to civilian rule. Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita, announcing the appointment, added that he himself would serve as vice president of the transition government.Bah Ndaw -- whose name is also spelled Ba N'daou -- was once an aide-de-camp to Mali's ex-dictator Moussa Traore, who died last week aged 83.Ndaw was later defence minister under president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita -- who was ousted in the military coup on August 18.A veteran soldier, Ba Ndaw received training in the former Soviet Union as well as at Paris's renowned Ecole de Guerre. Monday's announcement came after a brief meeting of a committee appointed by the junta to pick the leaders of the transition government. It also came after the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last week gave Mali's ruling officers "days" to appoint a civilian leader or face continuing sanctions.West African leaders imposed sanctions on Mali -- including a trade embargo and shuttered borders -- in the wake of last month's coup.The sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn as well as a simmering jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.Ndaw will be sworn in on Friday, Goita said.

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