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Mali gets new prime minister after forced ouster

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 22:32

Bamako: Mali`s interim president has named a replacement after soldiers behind a coup earlier this year forced out the prime minister and placed him under house arrest, provoking international condemnation.

The political turmoil has deepened concerns about Mali`s stability at a time when the international community is considering backing a military intervention, including Malian soldiers, to oust the country`s north from the hands of radical Islamists.

The president of neighbouring Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, who has served as a mediator, said today that the latest developments threaten to only worsen the Malian crisis.

Longtime civil servant Django Cissoko was chosen late yesterday as the new prime minister in Mali`s transitional government, first set up after the military coup in March.

The ouster of Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra has prompted fierce criticism from the United Nations, the United States and the African Union, among others.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has warned that the forced resignation makes Western countries wary of getting involved in a military incursion in the north.

"One thing is clear: Our offers of help come with the condition that the process of restoring constitutional order in Mali be conducted credibly," he said.

The latest developments also have raised concerns among ordinary Malians.
"We don`t really understand the reaction of Capt. Sanogo (coup leader). Instead of creating an atmosphere of understanding between politicians in Bamako to resolve our problem in the north, Sanogo still continues to create trouble in Bamako," said Maouloud Daou, who lives in Hombori, a city under the control of radical Islamists.

The 62-year-old Cissoko held a number of positions under the administration of longtime President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown by mutinous soldiers in March. Coup leader Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo never relinquished control despite pledges to do so, and on Monday forces loyal to him arrested Diarra at his home.

Junta spokesman Bakary Mariko acknowledged that soldiers allied with the coup leader had detained the prime minister and now have him under house arrest. Mariko said Diarra was "not getting along" with either the interim president or Sanogo.

Two security officials, including a police officer and an intelligence agent, confirmed that Sanogo had ordered the prime minister`s arrest.


First Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 22:32
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