Malian Coup Leaders Special Forces Trained By Both Russian and US Militaries

Mali Coup Leaders Seized Power Days After Returning From Military Training Camp in Russia 

Assimi Goita and his brothers in arms: who are the leaders of the coup d’état in Mali?

Scene of joy at the passage of the militaryImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionScene of joy as the soldiers pass through Bamako

The deputy head of a military camp and a general trained in France are among the leaders of the coup that overthrew President Ibrahim Keïta on Tuesday.

BBC Monitoring has profiled three high-ranking military leaders who are believed to have played key roles in the coup.

1-Colonel Assimi Goita

Colonel Assimi GoitaImage copyrightMALIK KONATE
Image captionColonel Assimi Goita is the commander of the Autonomous Battalion of Special Forces of Mali (BAFS)

Colonel Assimi Goita, senior officer of the Malian army, presented himself on Wednesday as the leader of the soldiers who took power in Mali, the day after the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

“Let me introduce myself: I am Colonel Assimi Goita, the president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP),” this senior officer, who appeared on national television alongside other soldiers, told reporters on Tuesday evening. .

This man, at the head of the CNSP which overthrew IBK the day before, is the commander of the Autonomous Battalion of Special Forces of Mali (BAFS).

Colonel Goita, very discreet, would have participated in all the operations leading to the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

– Col Malick Diaw

Colonel Malick Diaw is the deputy leader of the Kati camp where the mutiny beganImage copyrightEPA
Image captionColonel Malick Diaw is the deputy leader of the Kati camp where the mutiny began

He is the deputy chief of the Kati camp where the mutiny began.

There is very little information about him other than reports that he recently returned from training in Russia.

He was alongside the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Col-Maj Ismael Wagué, who on Wednesday read a statement on behalf of the junta to announce the military takeover.

“Colonel Diaw is said to be the leader of the mutiny at the Kati camp, 15 km from Bamako. He is said to have asked the president of the republic to leave power before 2:00 p.m. GMT, according to a tweet about him.

– Col Sadio Camara

Col Camara is a former director of the military academy of Kati.

The Mali Tribune website reports that he was born in 1979 in Kati, in the Koulikoro region, in southern Mali.

He graduated from the Koulikoro Military Academy (EMIA) with first class honors.

He was then deployed to northern Mali where he served under General El Hadj Gamou until 2012.

Col Camara then became the director of the Kati military academy, a post he held until January 2020, when he left for Russia for military training.

Mali Tribune reports that he returned to Bamako earlier this month to take his month-long leave.

“Col Camara was appreciated by all where he worked and he is respected and adored by all his subordinates. To them, he represents righteousness, seriousness and determination,” writes the website.

General Cheick Fantamadi Dembélé presented at the start of the crisis as one of the putschists does not seem to be part of it according to several media. BBC Africa is trying to get in touch with him to confirm whether or not he is one of the actors in Tuesday’s coup.

Resignation at gunpoint

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he resigned to avoid a bloodbathImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionIbrahim Boubacar Keita says he resigned to avoid a bloodbath

Mali soldiers who ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita have said they plan to set up a transitional civilian government that will hold new elections.

The president appeared on state television to announce that, to avoid a bloodbath, he had resigned after he and his prime minister were arrested at gunpoint.

In recent months, mass protests have taken place in Mali to ask Mr. Keita to leave, blaming him for worsening jihadist violence and mismanagement of the economy.

Around the world, declarations follow one another to condemn the coup d’état in Mali. Sanctions and suspensions were inevitable.

It is not yet clear how long it will take for the military who pushed President Keita to leave to keep their promise to hand over to civilians to hold the elections.

International pressure could accelerate this process. Many in the country are waiting to see if popular conservative Imam Mahmoud Dicko, who led the protest movement, will have a role to play.

With Mali at the center of the jihadist rebellion that is spreading across West Africa at an alarming rate, the country is in desperate need of political stability.


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