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Mali court names coup leader as interim president

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Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of Malian military junta, attends the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consultative meeting in Accra, Ghana September 15, 2020. REUTERS- Francis Kokoroko

The colonel who led a military coup in the West African nation of Mali this week is now officially the country’s leader.

Mali’s Constitutional Court published a judgement late Friday declaring that Colonel Assimi Goita was assuming the presidency.

The judgement gives Goita the power to head the interim government and “lead the transition process to its conclusion.”

The judgement noted “the vacancy of the presidency of the transition following the resignation of Mr Bah N’Daw.”

President N’Daw and prime minister Moctar Ouane resigned from their positions after being detained for several days this week in a coup staged by Goita, who then quickly declared himself president.

The trigger for the coup was the military’s anger over a cabinet reshuffle that saw two senior military officers stripped of their positions.

Last August, those military officers were part of a coup that ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from office after nearly seven years. That power grab nine months ago was also led by Goita.

It resulted in an interim government headed by transitional president N’Daw, who had served as defence minister from 2014 to 2015 and held several other military positions, with Goita assuming the vice presidency.

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