President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (C) talks to his Chinese counterpart during their bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on August 31, 2018. African Presidents are in China for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation which will be held September 3-4 in Beijing. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Roman PILIPEY
Re-elected Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita vowed Tuesday to restore peace to the troubled north of the Saharan country hours after a UN peacekeeper was injured there in a jihadist rocket attack.
“I will be implacable against all those who affront our values of freedom and tolerance,” Keita, 73, said as he took the oath of office at a ceremony in the capital Bamako.
“Nothing will trample the will of a people united against terrorism,” Keita said, adding that he would make “the return of peace and security an absolute priority”.
The UN peacekeeper was injured in an attack in the northern town of Menaka, officials said, without giving his nationality.
Keita won 67 percent of the vote against runner-up Soumailla Cisse, a former finance minister, who scored nearly 33 percent in a hard-fought runoff on August 12.
His re-election came despite fierce criticism of failures to tackle jihadist violence and ethnic tensions that have rocked the poor Sahel state.
Keita’s major challenge as he starts his second term will be to strengthen a 2015 peace accord between the government, government-allied groups and former Tuareg rebels that the government sees as a cornerstone of peace.