Mali: Coup Leader Promoted to General

The Mali army captain who led a 2012 coup that toppled the African nation’s first democratically elected president has been promoted to general, just days after voters chose a new president.

The promotion of Amadou Sanogo was confirmed by the army Wednesday – just one day after former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was named president. Keita’s August 11 win became certain Tuesday, after his rival conceded defeat in the first election since the coup.

In rising to general, Sanogo bypassed the normal sequence of promotion, including the ranks of commandant, lieutenant colonel and colonel.

Sanogo led a group of mid-level officers in overthrowing then-President Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012.

The mutiny precipitated the fall of northern Mali to al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants and an eventual military intervention by former colonial power France. A combined French and African force later pushed the militants back into remote desert areas along the Algerian border.

Many critics in the ousted government and beyond say Sanogo continued to wield considerable influence in the capital, despite appearing to hand over power to a transitional government weeks after the 2012 coup.