Malian junta sets up body to create new constitution

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File photo: Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita meets with a high-level delegation from the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS, at the Ministry of Defense in Bamako, Mali. PA

The announcement was made Friday evening in a presidential decree which stated that the commission would have two months to complete its work.

The body will include a chairperson, two rapporteurs and experts and will consult with political parties, civil society groups, armed groups that have signed a peace accord with the government, religious and traditional leaders and trade unions, said the decree.

On Monday, junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita signed a decree stipulating that the military would rule the country until March 2024, when elections would be held.

The decision snubbed efforts by the regional bloc of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reduce the transition.

Mali has been ruled by a military junta since August 2020, when colonels angry at the failure to roll back jihadists toppled the country’s elected leader, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

They then staged a second de facto coup in May 2021, but reiterated their vow to return control by February 2022. But that was pushed back two years this week.

ECOWAS has scheduled a summit on July 3 to consider whether to lift the tough trade and economic sanctions imposed on Mali in January.

Since 2012, Mali has been shaken by a jihadist insurgency by groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group, plunging the country into crisis.

The violence began in the north and then spread to the center and to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. Intercommunal and criminal violence is also common.

Mali’s ruling junta has turned to Russia and backed away from its traditional ally, France, in its effort to stem the violence.

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