Mali PM cuts short visit to north over security fears

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Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga Saturday cut short his visit to the extremist-hit north due to security threats, government sources confirmed to AFP on Saturday.

Maiga, 64, had arrived Friday in the city of Gao for a four-day stay in the largest northern region, with visits to Bourem and Ansongo also on the schedule, according to an official program.

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The Bourem and Ansongo stops, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, have now been cancelled, an administrative official told AFP.

“We received last-minute alerts of attacks against Ansongo and Bourem. We informed the military of these threats,” the official said.

Bourem’s mayor Hamadou Mahamane Toure confirmed he had been contacted by the prime minister’s chief of staff cancelling the visits to Bourem and Ansongo.

This was Maiga’s first visit to northern Mali since his return to work on December 5 three months after suffering a stroke.

He had planned to meet local authorities, visit soldiers, distribute agricultural equipment and announce and launch infrastructure works, according to the official program.

Maiga, 64, was appointed head of government in June 2021 following the second coup in a year, which strengthened the military’s grip on power.

The landlocked west African state is in the throes of a decade-long extremist campaign which has resulted in a security, political and humanitarian crisis.

Mali is run by a military junta that seized power in 2020.

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