Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Mali leader sworn in, threatens rebels

MALI's new interim leader has threatened to wage total war on Tuareg rebels and Islamists controlling the north of the country as he took the oath of office, ending a brief period of military rule.

Dioncounda Traore, the former parliament speaker, was sworn into office in the capital of the west African nation on Thursday, at a ceremony attended by, among others, junta leader Captain Amadou Sanogo who grabbed power in a March 22 coup.

Traore, 70, took charge in a country facing its worst-ever crisis, threatening to unleash "total war'' on the Tuareg rebels, Islamists and outlaws who overran Mali's vast desert north in the power vacuum created by the coup.

"I am aware of being the president of a country at war," said the mathematician turned politician, who is expected to name a prime minister and organise elections within 40 days.

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