For the second time in 10 months, Col Assimi Goïta has seized power in Mali, detaining transitional President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane after accusing them of failing in their duties and trying to sabotage the West African state’s transition to democracy.
He also led the coup which deposed the elected head of state, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, on 18 August last year.
But the 2020 coup was widely welcomed by the public and opposition politicians who had become exasperated with Mr Keïta’s feeble leadership and tolerance of corruption.
It took weeks of negotiation before the terms for a transition back to democratic rule were finally agreed between the coup leaders and mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), the regional bloc to which Mali belongs.
Col Goïta was installed as transitional vice-president – a recognition of the army’s still powerful influence. An 18-month deadline was agreed for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held.
But resolving the conundrum posed by this latest military intervention – which began when soldiers arrested Mr Ndaw and Mr Ouane on Monday – could prove rather more awkward for Ecowas, whose chief mediator, Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan, is in Mali to resolve the crisis.