By Felix Tih and Moussa Bolly
BAMAKO, Mali (AA) - Mali's military junta on Monday had announced that former Colonel-Major Bah N'Daw was appointed to lead the West African country.
The appointment came six days after other West African nations issued a one-week ultimatum for civilian governance to the National Council for People's Salvation (CNSP), a political-military group under the military junta currently at the country's helm.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had threatened a total embargo to "asphyxiate them quickly" that would have been imposed at midnight on Sept. 23, according to CNSP spokesman Ismael Wague last week.
In addition to being a former defense chief, N'Daw was the personal aide of former President Moussa Traore, who died Sept. 15 in the Malian capital Bamako. He also served as deputy chief of the aviation staff.
During his military career, he received several high distinctions, including the Medal of Military Merit, the Medal of National Merit and the National Order of Mali.
His appointment came several weeks after an Aug. 18 coup forced former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign.
Born on Aug. 23, 1950, in the town of San in the central Segou region, N'Daw had a distinguished career in the air force before his retirement. He had joined the army on June 1, 1973, after graduating from high school.
The following year, he received helicopter pilot training in the former Soviet Union.
In March 1976, the young soldier N'Daw, nicknamed "The Great," joined the country's air force.
He holds a certificate of higher military study from France, as well as a certificate from the Ecole de Guerre (CID) that he received in 1994.
N'Daw was in the seventh promotion of the Combined Arms School, known as Ecole Militaire Interarmes (EMIA), in the western Koulikoro region.
From 2008 until his retirement, Colonel-Major N'Daw was the director of the National Office for Retired Military Veterans and War Victims (ONAC).
On May 28, 2014, he replaced Minister of Defense and Veterans Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, who had been forced to resign after several attacks on the Malian army by insurgent groups in the Kidal Region.