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Mali Interim Leaders Form Government

Peter Cobus

Mali's interim leaders have announced the formation of a new government, a month after the country's democratically elected president was toppled in a military coup.

A joint announcement, made Thursday by the interim president and interim prime minister, says military officers will hold three posts in the new government -- defense, interior security and interior ministry.

The rest of the 24-member government will be made up of civilians.

Renegade soldiers seized power in Mali on March 22, accusing President Amadou Toumani Toure of failing to properly equip the army to handle a Tuareg rebellion in the north.

The military junta, under pressure from the regional bloc ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), later agreed to form a civilian transitional government to organize new elections.

Former parliament speaker Dioncounda Traore was named interim president, followed by the appointment of former astrophysicist Cheick Modibo Diarra as prime minister.

Since the coup, Tuareg rebels fighting alongside the Islamist group Ansar Dine have captured three northern regions. The Tuaregs declared an independent state, a move that was rejected by neighboring countries and the African Union.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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