Bamako, Mali – The Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Sunday pledged to rebuild the national army with a view to making it a republican army and avoiding a repeat of the incidents that led to the occupation of the North by Jihadists.
President Keita, inaugurated Thursday as the new Malian leader, made the pledge after laying wreaths at the Independence Square in Bamako to mark the country’s 53rd National Day.
The ceremony, which featured a military parade, was attended by several foreign officials, including the French Defence Minister, Yves Le Drian.
In an earlier address, broadcast on national television, President Keita reaffirmed his commitment to promote governance, national reconciliation, fight corruption which, he said, was undermining the development efforts in the country, considered one of the poorest in the world.
“I know the fight against corruption will not be won right now. But let me assure you that we shall win in the end. We will also learn from the experience of our political crises,” President Keita assured while expressing confidence that Mali would be back on its feet.
The theme of this year’s celebration, according to President Keita, was “mediation and reunion”. He thanked the international community for showing solidarity with Mali during the invasion of the northern part of the country by Islamist fighters.
Mali gained independence from France on 22 September, 1960.