Mali’s coup leader justifies his takeover a year on

Mali’s leader Col Assimi Goïta has given a short address to the nation justifying the coup he led a year ago.

He said the army could not just stand by and watch the growing political crisis – and breakdown of governance under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.

“Men and women came together to express their desire for change. The people responded massively to the call. The national army, your army, could not just wait-and-see: it therefore took upon itself its responsibilities and intervened to enable the popular desire for change to become a reality,” he said.

Col Goïta led a second coup in May, declaring himself president.

He had accused the interim government that had been installed after August’s putsch – and of which he was vice-president – of seeking to sabotage the transition.

He pledged then that he would return the country to full civilian rule as planned early next year.

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