It will take 24 months from March 2022 for the West African country to transition to democratic rule after an August 2020 coup, says the interim government.

Mali is struggling under sanctions imposed by other countries in West Africa for its perceived foot-dragging over restoring civilian rule.
Mali is struggling under sanctions imposed by other countries in West Africa for its perceived foot-dragging over restoring civilian rule. (Reuters Archive)

Mali's military rulers have announced they would delay until March 2024 a return to civilian rule following double coups that have been denounced by countries in the region and foreign powers.

Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita signed a decree read out on state television on Monday saying that "the duration of the transition is fixed at 24 months (from) March 26, 2022".

Mali has undergone two military coups since August 2020, when the army ousted elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Its military rulers had pledged to return power to civilians by February 2022 but subsequently extended the timetable, incurring regional sanctions.

Mali is struggling under those sanctions imposed by other countries in West Africa for its perceived foot-dragging over restoring civilian rule.

READ MORE: Mali blames unnamed 'Western state' for failed coup bid

Militant insurgency 

Anger at the mounting toll in the country's battle against militants unleashed protests against Keita, paving the way for the coup by disgruntled army officers in August 2020.

A second de-facto coup occurred in May 2021, when strongman Goita pushed out an interim civilian government and took over the presidency.

The violence gripping Mali since 2012 has involved attacks by militants linked to Al Qaeda and Daesh terror group, but also an assortment of self-declared militias and bandits.

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Source: AFP