Colonel Assimi Goita, who led a coup in Mali last year, is set to become the
President on Monday after a second military power grab in the war-torn Sahel state.
Last month, soldiers detained the country’s president and prime minister of an interim government installed in the wake of a coup in August last year, provoking diplomatic uproar. The military released the pair days later ousted them of their powers. According to diplomats and army officials, Goita has taken charge. Few are confident about what his motivations are, or his ultimate goals.
Goita burst onto the political stage on August 18 when he launched a coup against elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, after weeks of mass protests over perceived corruption and his failure to end Mali’s jihadist insurgency.
Goita is son of a former director of Mali’s military police and studied in the country’s military school. In 2002, he went to Mali’s desert north for training and was subsequently based in the northern cities of Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu, Menaka, and Tessalit.