Mali’s Coup Leader Dismisses President and Prime Minister

May 25, 2021 Updated: May 25, 2021

BAMAKO, Mali—Mali’s former coup leader Assimi Goita took control of the country again Tuesday after firing the president and prime minister of the transitional government after they announced a cabinet reshuffle without his permission.

While Goita pledged to go ahead with holding new elections in 2022 as promised, his display of force casts doubt on whether the vote will go ahead without significant interference by the junta that overthrew the last democratically elected president.

Transition Mali President Bah Ndaw
Transition Mali President Bah Ndaw leaves after a working lunch with the French President at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris, on Jan. 27, 2021. (Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)
Mali's Minister Moctar Ouane
Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Moctar Ouane waves prior to a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi, India, on Jan. 16, 2009. (Raveendran/AFP via Getty Images)

The move came a day after President Bah N’Daw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were arrested by soldiers and brought to the military headquarters in Kati, about 15 kilometers (9 miles) outside the capital. Both men remained in detention Tuesday.

Their arrests prompted an outcry by the international community, which put out a strongly worded joint statement warning Mali’s military leaders that their actions could undermine global support for the transitional government.