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Ex-Defence Minister Ba N’Daou Named Mali’s Interim President

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Former Mali defense minister Ba N’Daou has been named interim president with Colonel Assimi Goita, the junta leader who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last month, as his vice president.

The retired military officer previously served as an aide to Mali’s former military dictator, Moussa Traoré. N’Daou will serve as interim president until elections take place in 2022.

Kaou N’Djim, a spokesman for influential Muslim leader Mahmoud Dicko, praised the nomination.

“Ba is an upright official. He has never been implicated in matters of financial corruption,” N’Djim told Reuters.

Goïta expressed that there had been varying viewpoints on who should lead the interim government before elections. “Some wanted a purely military transition, others wanted a civil transition, and others proposed a mixture,” he said in a televised addressed to the country.

Regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ordered Mali to return power to civilians following August 18. Members of the bloc traveled to Mali in an attempt to quell the crisis.

Last month, Keita announced his immediate resignation on state television following a military mutiny. Soldiers abducted him and his prime minister, holding them captive for a week.

“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” Keita asked. “I hold no hatred towards anyone, my love of my country does not allow me to,” he added. “May God save us.”

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