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Mali: Ba N’Daou sworn in as interim president

Mali’s former defence minister, retired Col. Major Ba N’Daou has been sworn into office at a ceremony in the capital, Bamako.

Ba N’Daou was named interim leader by the soldiers who toppled the government of former president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

The new leader is now expected to oversee the 18-month transition period towards a return to civilian rule.

The Head of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, Colonel Assimi Goïta was also sworn in as transitional vice-president.

The interim president is a Soviet-trained helicopter pilot who worked in the Mali’s air force.

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He also served as defence minister under ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

But he left that post in 2015 after helping to secure a defence deal in 2014 with France, whose troops intervened in 2013 to fight Islamist rebels.

The appointment of the 70-year old former defence minister is considered a fulfillment of certain conditions made by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.

Ba N’Daou (C) with junta leaders Col Assimi Goita (L) and Col Malick Diaw (R). Photo: EPA

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ECOWAS leaders had insisted that the coup leaders appoint a civilian president before sanctions imposed on Mali can be lifted.

The sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial flows, though these were eased so they did not hit ordinary civilians.

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