World

Mali's entire government resigns weeks after bloody massacre of herders

Mali's prime minister and his whole government resigned on Thursday, four weeks after a massacre of some 160 Fulani herders by an ethnic vigilante group angered the nation.

Legislators faced criticism over failure to disarm militias believed responsible for the violence

Prime Minister of Mali Soumeylou Boubeye Maigaa and his whole government resigned Thursday. (Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press)

Mali's prime minister and his whole government resigned on Thursday, four weeks after a massacre of some 160 Fulani herders by an ethnic vigilante group angered the nation.

"The President accepts the resignation of the prime minister and that of the members of government," a statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's office said.

It gave no reason for the departure of Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, but legislators had discussed on Wednesday a possible motion of no confidence in the government because of the massacre and failure to disarm militias or beat back Islamist militants.

The March 23 killings by suspected hunters from the Dogon community on Ogossagou, a village in central Mali populated by rival Fulani herders, were bloody even by the recent standards of Mali's ever-worsening violence.

A woman stands outside a house at the site of an attack by gunmen on Fulani herders in Ogossagou, Mali last month. (Malian Presidency/Handout/Reuters)

They followed a deadly assault by jihadists on an army post that killed at least 23 soldiers, also in Mali's central region, which was claimed by an al-Qaeda affiliate that counts many Fulani herders in its ranks.

Malian authorities have detained five people suspected of taking part in the massacre. But they have not yet succeeded in disarming the militia that many believe organized it, despite pledges by Maiga and Keita to do so.

People take part in a rally to protest against the failure of the government and international peacekeepers to stem rising ethnic and jihadist violence in the capital of Bamako in early April. (Keita Amadou/Reuters)

The largely Saharan nation has been in turmoil since a rebellion by Tuaregs and allied jihadists took over half the country in 2012, prompting the French to intervene to push them back the following year.

Canada currently has a peacekeeping force of about 250 in Gao, northern Mali supporting the UN's Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission mission. The mission is scheduled to end in July 2019, and Canada has recently turned down a UN request to extend it. 

Canadian troops are supporting the UN's mission in Mali until July. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

With files from CBC News

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