Mali New PM named after predecessor's arrest
Publisher: AP, Associated Press
Author: Associated Press in Bamako
Story date: 12/12/2012
Language: English

Mali's interim president has named a replacement prime minister less than a day after his predecessor was forced out and put under house arrest, provoking international condemnation. The arrest has deepened concerns about Mali's stability at a time when the international community was considering backing a military intervention, including Malian soldiers, to claim the country's north from the hands of radical Islamists.

The president of neighbouring Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, who has served as a mediator, said yesterday that the latest developments threatened to worsen the Malian crisis. Longtime civil servant Diango Cissoko was chosen late on Tuesday as the new prime minister in Mali's transitional government, first set up after the military coup in March.

The military ousting of his predecessor, Cheikh Modibo Diarra, prompted fierce criticism yesterday from the UN, US and African Union, among others.

The president of the AU commission strongly condemned recent events in Mali and called for the "complete subordination of the army and security forces to civilian rule".

Germany's foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, also warned that the forced resignation made western countries wary of getting involved in a military incursion in the north. "Our offers of help come with the condition that the process of restoring constitutional order in Mali be conducted credibly," he said.

The latest developments have also raised concerns among ordinary Malians. Maouloud Daou, who lives in Hombori, a city under the control of radical Islamists, said: "We don't really understand the reaction of Captain Sanogo [the coup leader]. Instead of creating an atmosphere of understanding between politicians in Bamako to resolve our problem in the north, Sanogo still continues to create trouble in Bamako."

Cissoko, 62, held a number of positions under the administration of longtime president Amadou Toumani Toure, who was overthrown by mutinous soldiers in March. Coup leader Sanogo never relinquished control despite pledges to do so, and on Monday forces loyal to him arrested Diarra at his home.

Junta spokesman Bakary Mariko acknowledged that soldiers allied with the coup leader had detained the previous prime minister and had him under house arrest. Mariko said Diarra was "not getting along" with either the interim president or Sanogo.

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