New Mali PM named

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Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appointed finance minister Boubou Cisse as prime minister days after government resigned following pressure to respond to the vigilante massacre of about 160 Fulani herders.

Mali’s former Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his government resigned last week after coming under fire for failing to disarm militias and halt Islamist militants stoking violence ahead of the Fulani massacre.

“The President of the Republic decided to name Doctor Boubou Cisse to the function of prime minister,” Keita’s office said in a statement.

Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso have been hit by a spike in hostilities fuelled by Islamist militants seeking to extend influence over the Sahel, an arid region between Africa’s northern Sahara desert and its southern savannas.

The militants build on long-standing rivalries between communities to side with Fulani herders and boost their ranks, spurring inter-ethnic clashes that culminated in the killing of 157 Fulani villagers in March – bloody even by the recent standards of Mali’s ever-worsening violence.

Authorities detained five people suspected of involvement in the massacre. They have not yet succeeded in disarming the militia many believe organised it, despite pledges to do so.