What next for Mali after second coup within a year?

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For the second time in less than a year, Mali’s military is back in power.

Nine months after overthrowing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the wake of mass anti-government protests, the army on Monday detained President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane just hours after the announcement of a new cabinet that excluded two key military leaders.

Mali coup: Col Goïta seizes power - again - BBC News

Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the August 2020 coup and was Ndaw’s deputy in the transitional administration formed in late September with the task of steering the country towards full civilian rule, said he was not consulted on the reshuffle, which was announced amid rising social tensions including a general strike called by Mali’s main trade union.

Mali's coup leader Assimi Goïta declares himself president - BBC News

Taken to a military base, Ndaw, a retired military officer, and Ouane stepped down on Wednesday. Later in the day, the United Nations Security Council condemned as “unacceptable” a “change of transitional leadership by force, including through forced resignations”.

RELATED NEWS:ECOWAS lifts sanctions imposed on Mali after military coup

But by Friday, Goita had been named interim president by Mali’s constitutional court.

It came as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) invited the military leaders for talks with the regional bloc’s current chair, Ghanaian president Nana Akufo-Addo, according to Nigeria’s foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama. The talks are scheduled for Sunday.

France, which has thousands of troops in Mali to fight armed groups, also slammed the army takeover as “unacceptable”, with President Emmanuel Macron warning of “targeted sanctions” against those behind what he described as a “coup within a coup”.

Why the Mali coup matters to Europe and the world – POLITICO

Following last year’s coup, ECOWAS suspended Mali from its institutions and announced a series of sanctions, including closing borders and halting financial flows.

But some analysts have doubts about the effectiveness of such measures and whether they are the best way to bring about a return to civilian rule.

“The sanction regime was not very successful,” Emmanuel Kwesi Anning, director of research at Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre told Al Jazeera.

“People were able to trade; the borders are porous. But the fact that ECOWAS had sought to impose sanctions without taking into consideration the political, economic and social realities of Mali meant that the sanction regime itself became anathema and allowed people to be very critical of ECOWAS,” he said.

“Right now, any narrative or decision to reimpose those sanctions, I think, will backfire. We need much more nuanced conversation as to what really the Malian people are looking for,” Anning added.

On Wednesday, Washington said it was “suspending security assistance” for Mali’s security and defence forces which are struggling to contain armed groups in the country’s northern and central regions.

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