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Factbox: Who's who in Mali's military junta?

By Reuters | August 20th 2020 at 16:50:45 GMT +0300

The junta that overthrew Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Tuesday and promised to lead the country to elections has provided little information about its membership.

Most members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) appear to be colonels, including Assimi Goita (pictured above), who presented himself to reporters late on Wednesday as its leader.

Following are details about members drawn from the junta’s public comments, other open sources and sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Colonel Assimi Goita:

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Goita is one of the commanders of Mali’s Autonomous Special Forces Battalion (BAFS), which is active in the fight against jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, two security sources told Reuters.

Video of Keita being escorted onto the military’s base after being detained on Tuesday shows soldiers wearing BAFS kit.

A former U.S. army officer posted a photo on a blog post last year showing himself with Goita at the Flintlock exercises that the U.S. military runs annually in West Africa to train regional armies.

“While at Flintlock, I was able to catch up with Lt. Col. Assimi Goita, a key partner and friend that I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside since 2016. Together, we fought violent extremism in Mali,” the officer, Andy Duhon, wrote.

In 2016, Goita was hosted by the George C Marshall European Centre for Security Studies, according to a photo posted by the centre on Twitter that year, which shows Goita receiving a certificate.

Colonel Modibo Kone:

Kone served as head of the National Guard in central Mali near the border with Burkina Faso, an epicentre of jihadist and inter-ethnic violence, according to a source who follows the military and has met Kone.

A post last year on the Malian army’s Twitter account includes a photo of Kone receiving a visit by the defence minister while in charge of a command centre in central Mali.

The source said Kone was opposed to the implicit sub-contracting of security operations by the army to ethnic Dogon militiamen, who have battled the jihadists but also been repeatedly accused by local residents and rights groups of massacring Fulani herders.

National Guard forces have also been accused of committing atrocities against civilians in the area - charges the government had promised to investigate.

Colonel Ismael Wague:

Wague, the junta’s spokesman, read the statement on national television on Wednesday morning that confirmed the military’s takeover.

He has been based in Sevare in central Mali, according to the source who follows the military.

Colonel Malick Diaw:

A security source confirmed Diaw’s involvement in the junta but had no further information about him.

Colonel Sadio Camara:

A security source confirmed Camara’s involvement in the junta but had no further information about him.


Assimi Goita Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita CNSP Mali Coup
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