Mali’s parliament speaker Diouncounda Traore has returned to the country to become interim president after a 17-day military coup backfired.
The 70-year-old was in neighbouring
Burkina Faso when soldiers overthrew the democratically elected president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22.
Under a deal reached by military chiefs and Mali’s west African neighbours, Traore’s arrival is the first step in a plan to return to civilian rule.
It’s not known when the handover of power will take place and no date has been set for national elections.
The accord comes after Tuareg rebels, fighting for a separate homeland in northern Mali, took advantage of the coup’s instability to declare an independent state of Azawad.
West African regional bloc ECOWAS has promised assistance to help tackle the insurgency, which resumed in January. The Tuareg’s fighting force has been strengthened by weapons used in Libya’s civil war last year.