DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A timeline of key events in Mali that led to another power grab in the troubled West African nation.
August 2018 — President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is re-elected to a second five-year term after receiving 67% of the Aug. 12 runoff vote, beating opposition leader Soumaila Cisse who received more than 32%. The Constitutional Court rejects motions of fraud filed by the opposition party.
Keita was first elected president in 2013, after a French-led military operation ousted Islamic extremists from power in northern Mali’s towns. He won elections organized after a military coup.
July 2020 — Demonstrations against Keita’s presidency escalate bringing him to urge dialogue with his opponents who call for his ouster.
Despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers, and French and regional forces backing Malian troops, extremist groups continue to mount attacks, killing hundreds of soldiers. Those losses prompt criticism of Keita’s handling of the crisis.
August 18, 2020 — Soldiers detain Keita and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse after surrounding the presidential residence and firing into the air.
August 19, 2020 — Keita resigns. Soldiers calling themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People, led by Col. Assimi Goita, say they are in control and vow they will eventually hand over power to a transitional civilian government but give no timeline.
The 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS says it will stop all economic, trade, and financial flows and transactions between member-states and Mali. Mediators begin negotiations.
Global leaders urge Mali’s junta to release ousted 75-year-old Keita and step up their calls for a return to civilian rule.
September 12, 2020 — Mali’s military junta agrees to an 18-month transitional government headed by a military or civilian leader that will pave the way to elections. The regional bloc ECOWAS warns the junta that it must designate a civilian leader to lead the transition within a week or face further sanctions.
Sept. 21, 2020 — The head of Mali’s military junta, Col. Goita, says he will serve as the vice president in a transitional government. He also says retired Col. Maj. Bah N’Daw has been named president.
Sept. 25, 2020 — The transitional government is inaugurated.
Sept. 27, 2020 — Mali’s transitional president appoints former minister of foreign affairs, Moctar Ouane, as the West African nation’s prime minister.
October 2020 — The appointment of a civilian prime minister brings the West African regional economic bloc, ECOWAS, to lift sanctions. The transitional government says elections will be held in February and March 2022.
May 14, 2021 — Mali’s interim government pledges to form a new and more “broad-based” Cabinet amid growing criticism of the dominance of the army in the government and slow reforms.
May 24, 2021 — Mali’s new Cabinet is announced and does not include major leaders of the former junta, including Interior Security Minister Modibo Kone and Defense Minister Sadio Camara.
Hours later, the transitional president and prime minister are taken to the Kati military headquarters outside the capital. The African Union, the U.N. mission in Mali, ECOWAS and other members of the international community call for their immediate release.
May 25, 2021 — Col. Goita retakes control of the government, firing the president and prime minister saying they named the new Cabinet without his consent. He vowed to hold elections in 2022 as promised earlier.