Mali opposition sets up transition government in exile

Malian opposition politicians said Saturday that they had formed a transition government in exile to rival the one governing the country, ruled by the military since a 2020 coup.

It was the latest maneuver by the civilian opposition since Mali’s military rulers failed to meet a March deadline to hold elections and hand over power to a civilian government.

“The citizen assembly of the civil transition has today elected the members of the government,” read a statement datelined Geneva and signed by exiled Malian politician Adaman Traore, identified as the body’s president.

This “civil transition (government) … is the only legitimate one in Mali,” the text said.

It named the prime minister and defense minister of the rival government as Mohamed Cherif Kone, one of several prominent exiled politicians listed as members.

The announcement came a day after the political movement behind Mali’s junta-appointed civilian prime minister, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, openly criticized the military rulers for the first time.

AFP was not able to confirm whether Maiga endorsed that position or Saturday’s statement by the rival government.

The colonels running the junta have kept a tight hold on power, suspending all political activities and muzzling opponents, journalists and human rights activists.

Mali has since 2012 been plunged into a political and security crisis fueled by attacks from jihadis and other armed groups, as well as a separatist struggle in the north.

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