Malian President appoints new Defence minister

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Having declared ‘re-establishment of peace and security’ as an absolute priority for his second term, Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita named new defence, mines and foreign ministers.

Keita was sworn in last week after winning a landslide re-election despite escalating attacks by militants and clashes between herders and pastoralists that have killed hundreds of civilians this year.

The violence has spread to neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, alarming Western powers like France and the United States, which have deployed troops and air power across the region’s sprawling desert landscape.

Keita maintained Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga as prime minister and most of the 33-member Cabinet was also unchanged, according to the announcement.

His pick for defence minister, Tiemoko Sangare, was previously the mines minister.

Sangare’s predecessor as defence minister, Tiena Coulibaly, was moved to justice minister.

Lelenta Hawa Baba Bah was named the mines minister after having led the National Directorate of Geology and Mines.

As minister, she will oversee the government’s bid to revise the mining code, potentially by reducing the length of operators’ exemptions from changes to the fiscal regime.

Mali is Africa’s third-largest gold producer behind South Africa and Ghana, with major investors including Randgold Resources limited and AngloGold Ashanti limited.

Keita also named Kamissa Camara as his new foreign minister, she served previously as a foreign policy adviser to him at the presidency.

Hauwa Mustapha