Diango Cissoko was appointed prime minister of Mali, according to a decree read on the state broadcaster ORTM, after the leader of this year’s coup said the army forced his predecessor to resign.
Cissoko replaces Cheick Modibo Diarra, whose resignation on Dec. 10 was “facilitated” by Captain Amadou Sanogo and the military that ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure in March, Sanogo said in an interview on Bamako-based ORTM yesterday.
“A prime minister who had no political ambition at the time of his appointment, but that is about to strangle the country for excessive personal ambition, we had to react as quickly as possible because this country does not need that,” Sanogo said.
The removal of Toure left a power vacuum in Bamako that allowed Touareg and Islamist rebels to take control of the north of the country, which vies with Tanzania as Africa’s third-biggest gold producer. The landlocked nation’s economy is forecast to contract 4.5 percent this year before growing 3 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The U.S. denounced the military’s action. Diarra was “abducted by security forces loyal to the junta leader” and was “forced to resign and dissolve the cabinet,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington yesterday. “We view this event as a setback for Mali’s transition” and “its efforts to try to restore constitutional order and democratic government,” she said.
Modibo Traore, military spokesman for public affairs, defense and security, said Diarra was arrested when he refused to resign before leaving the country for medical treatment, then attempted to go. Diarra remains at his home, Sanogo said.