December 31, 2017 / 8:15 AM / 2 years ago

Mali's Keita names ex-defence and foreign minister as PM

Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seen on arrival for the ECOWAS meeting in Abuja, Nigeria December 16, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Saturday appointed Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga - a former defence and foreign minister and intelligence chief - as the new prime minister, according to a decree read on state television.

Boubeye Maiga is expected to form a new government in the coming day after his predecessor Abdoulaye Idrissa Maiga and his entire cabinet resigned on Friday.

Idrissa Maiga did not give a reason for his resignation but he is widely expected to either manage Keita’s campaign for next year’s election or to run in Keita’s place.

The new government will be the fifth to serve under Keita since his election in 2013. Usually fewer than half the ministers appointed to a new government have served in the previous cabinet.

Boubeye Maiga hails from Gao in Mali’s north, where Islamist militants regularly attack soldiers, U.N. peacekeepers and civilians. They have increasingly used the region as a launchpad for attacks into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso.

Reporting By Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Stephen Powell

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