Mali MPs defect as US pressure mounts

Source:AFP Published: 2016/9/29 23:08:40

Four Malian MPs have defected to the opposition, citing the "poor governance" of a Bamako administration already reeling from repeated attacks by top US diplomats.

The "lack of vision" of President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita's government had left the north of the country in crisis, youth unemployment soaring and "Malians in despair that the rule of law would ever return," the MPs' resignation letter said.

The four parliamentarians from the ruling Rally for Mali would now join the opposition Alliance for Democracy and Peace, they told AFP.

The resignations are the latest blow to Keita's government following pointed demands on Tuesday by US ambassador to Mali Paul Folmsbee to "sever all ties" with an armed group.

The GATIA group has clashed repeatedly and violently with former rebels of the Coordination of Azawad Movements near the city of Kidal, threatening a fragile peace deal signed last year.

Folmsbee added that "all Mali's armed groups have to conform to their obligations as regards the peace agreement," saying the factions' behavior put civilians at risk.

His comments followed even more strident accusations by US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, who said on September 23 that insecurity was worsening in Mali, adding the government was absent from "half its territory."

"The peace process can't be just about passing laws and setting up commissions," she added, demanding joint patrols between armed groups and the Malian army begin and support for "proxies that are fuelling conflict" to end.

Posted in: Africa

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