Mali’s PM, cabinet resign ahead of presidential election

Mali’s Prime Minister Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga and his government have resigned without explaining the surprise decision.

The resignation of Maiga, who took office only in April this year, comes seven months before President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita seeks re-election. Maiga was Keita’s campaign director during the Keita’s successful run for presidency in 2013.

President’s office said Maiga presented his resignation to Keita who readily accepted it adding that a new prime minister and government will be installed soon.

Maiga, an engineer hailing from the northern city of Gao, is vice-chairman of the ruling Rally for Mali (RPM) founded by Keita. His resignation comes amid concerns over Mali’s restive north which was dominated by Al-Qaeda fringe elements until 2012 when a French-led military operation drove them away.

Mali’s army, French soldiers and a UN mission still have little control over large tracts of the country, which regularly come under attack in spite of a peace accord signed with Tuareg leaders two years back to isolate the jihadists.

Tuaregs, ethic people, had launched a rebellion in 2012 against the Malian government to gain independence for the northern region of Mali, known as Azawad.

Jihadists are regrouping and launching attacks in central and southern areas as well as over the border into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The spread of the unrest this year prompted the G5 regional forum to step up peace efforts with French support.