He was already there. A little behind, but right in the heart of the action. On August 18, 2020, when Assimi Goïta and Sadio Camara showed up at the villa in the Kati military camp where Ibrahim Boucabar Keïta was forcibly taken to have him sign his resignation, a third colonel, silent, stood by their side: Modibo Kone. Since this exchange behind closed doors between the ex-president and his heartthrobs, which led to a nocturnal speech d’IBK on national television to announce his departure, Goïta and Camara have become the heralds of the junta which rules the country. The first, now Head of State, is its figurehead. The second, current Minister of Defence, is considered his eminence grise.
Modibo Koné remains an enigma. A quasi-unknown, whose name remains shrouded in a halo of mystery. And it is not his functions as boss of the dreaded State Security, the Malian intelligence services, which will help to lift the veil on this character. Within the “club of five” colonels who overthrew the IBK regime, Modibo Koné, 45, is undoubtedly the most misunderstood of all. “He is a very discreet man. He is even less talkative than the others. This shows how talkative he is…”, ironically a source from Bamak.
“He was the mastermind of the putsch”
Of the former third vice-president of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), some say that he is completely impassive. “He’s not a worldly person who likes to argue. He is very careful about what he says and especially who he says it to, ”describes an officer. A man in the shadows who, according to several well-introduced sources, would in fact have been one of the main instigators of the putsch of August 18, 2020.
“He was even the brains, assures a soldier. It was he who was in charge and who gave the green light to his old friend Sadio Camara to return from Russia [où il était en formation] in order to participate in the coup. It was only once the operation was launched that Assimi switched with them. The putsch consummated, the colonels agree that Goïta, considered the most consensual among them, be propelled to the front of the stage. In the background, Koné and Camara remain at the helm and have since formed, with the president, a sort of triumvirate at the head of the country.