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Mali gets new government after protests

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Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Mali’s president has named a new government after its predecessor resigned last month amid widespread protests over an upsurge of deadly inter-communal violence, a presidency statement said.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Sunday announced the new executive of 37 members under Prime Minister Boubou Cisse, who was appointed on April 22 to oversee the formation of a “broad-based” government.

Last week, Cisse signed a pact with both opposition and majority party representatives in the capital Bamako, declaring their willingness to set up a “politically-inclusive” new government.

Cisse’s predecessor Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his entire cabinet resigned on April 18 following the massacre of some 160 members of the Fulani herding community on March 23 in the village of Ogossagou near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.

This came after tens of thousands of people took to the streets on April 5 to protest against an upsurge of violence that has claimed some 600 lives in all, and which demonstrators said the government had failed to stop.

The new government includes as foreign minister Tiebile Drame, who led the election campaign of opposition member Soumaila Cisse against Keita in 2018.

Cisse’s URD party said it would continue to play a “constructive” opposition role.

The key portfolio of defence went to General Ibrahim Dahirou Dembele, former army chief of staff under the junta that emerged from a 2012 coup.

The role of justice minister went to Malick Coulibaly, president of Mali’s National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH), who has held the post before.

The new government includes ten women, more than a quarter of the total but fewer than the previous team, which boasted about a third.

Since the appearance of a jihadist group under preacher Amadou Koufa in central Mali in 2015, recruiting mainly among the Dogon — a hunting and farming community — clashes between the Dogon and the nomadic Fulani have intensified.

Last week, the UN’s MINUSMA mission said the Ogossagou massacre had been “planned, organised and coordinated” and could constitute a “crime against humanity.”


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