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NICOLAS HAQUE: Despite international condemnation, a show of support at the nation's Independence Square for Mali's military junta leader, Assimi Goita. They hold signs saying, "Down with France." Others wave Russian flags hoping for Moscow's military support. And then there are widows of Malian soldiers killed on the front lines.
For Thiemoko Sagara it seems like his country is engaged in an endless war, as a result of a failed French military intervention.
THIEMOKO SAGARA: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
INTERPRETER: France does not like Africa. Look at what is going on in the North. The war is not over and it has been going on for years. Why?
NICOLAS HAQUE: Well, according to Goita, it's because of a lack of political will. He overthrew President Keita in August, and dismissed the president of transition and PM on Wednesday, after detaining them for days. President Macron called this "a coup within a coup." Goita's special advisor, Youssouf Coulibaly, explains that the PM and president were too slow to enact reforms and were insubordinate by removing members of the junta from the government. The threat of possible sanctions has angered the junta. Youssouf Coulibaly believes this will worsen the crisis.
YOUSSOUF COULIBALY: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
INTERPRETER: Why should foreign countries interfere in our affairs? When there is a crisis, they should be helping us, not trying to tell us what to do.
NICOLAS HAQUE: The crowds are much smaller than back in August, when President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was removed from office. Still, the militants are riding on the support of a portion of the Malian population who believe that the military can do what politicians haven't managed to, which is bring an end to state-level corruption, bring back security, and rebuild trust between the Malian people and the states. Confirmed as the new president of Mali by constitutional court, Assimi Goita says he is not here to stay and is promising free and fair election by February 2022. And so, they chant his name. He appears to be the new strongman of Mali, at least for now.
Nicolas Haque, Al Jazeera, Bamako.