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Mali: Assimi Goïta is playing a dangerous game

By Benjamin Roger
Posted on Friday, 28 May 2021 18:50

Assimi Goïta, vice-president of Mali’s transition government, during Moussa Traoré’s funeral on 18 September 2020, in Bamako © MICHELE CATTANI/AFP

Assimi Goïta, the former vice-president of Mali’s transition government, now President, has taken everyone by surprise by leading a second coup in nine months. But how far can he go in the face of international pressure?

The colonel who leads Mali’s special forces is difficult to read. And not only because he has gotten into the habit of wearing a beige neckband as a makeshift anti-Covid mask. Who is Assimi Goïta really? What is he looking for?

Many of those who have met or crossed paths with him say the same thing, that the man is an enigma. He either doesn’t speak or speaks very little and never lets his feelings show. And when he moves, he is often surrounded by various bodyguards that form an impenetrable shield around him.