Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga placed in “forced rest” by a doctor | New

Maiga is suffering from exhaustion after working for 14 months without a break, according to her office.

Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga was placed on enforced rest by his doctor on Saturday after months of intense efforts, his office said.

“After 14 months of uninterrupted work, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Choguel Kokalla Maiga has been put on forced rest by his doctor,” his office said on his Facebook page on Saturday.

“He will resume his activities next week, God willing,” the statement added.

An adviser quoted by Reuters news agency denied earlier media reports to Paris-based magazine Jeune Afrique that Maiga had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

Mali’s ruling military government named the former opposition leader prime minister of the transitional government he leads in June last year, following a military coup in August 2020.

Maiga has been one of the government’s most outspoken voices in repeated public spats with West African neighbors and international partners who have criticized its military cooperation with Russian mercenaries and repeated election delays.

ECOWAS, the main political and economic bloc in West Africa, has pressured Mali to honor its commitment to hold presidential and legislative elections following the August 2020 military coup. The new leadership has promised to hold democratic elections in 2024.

Maiga has repeatedly condemned France for its “abandonment” of Mali in its conflict against armed groups in the country, which has been the epicenter of a bloody 10-year campaign by armed groups in the region.

Earlier Saturday, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali announced on Monday that it would resume troop rotations for the nearly 12,000-strong mission, a month after Malian authorities suspended them and charged foreign soldiers from entering the country without permission.

He said they would resume after discussions with representatives of the mission, known as MINUSMA, on how to coordinate troop deployments.

Tensions have been high between Mali and the UN since 49 Ivorian soldiers, including members of the special forces, were arrested by Malian authorities last month.

Mali said the Ivorian soldiers did not have the proper authorization to come to Mali and accused them of being mercenaries.

A MINUSMA spokesperson told Reuters on Saturday that the mission and Malian authorities had agreed on a simplified rotation procedure and that the mission’s request to resume rotations had been accepted.

Relations between Mali and troop-contributing countries remain tense. On Friday, Germany announced it was suspending its military reconnaissance mission, which provides intelligence to MINUSMA, after Malian authorities refused a flight permit.

Mali’s foreign minister denied on Twitter that the government had done so and called on Germany to join the new mechanism for approving troop rotations.

Western powers have repeatedly criticized Russian mercenaries working for Moscow’s controversial Wagner Group deployed in Mali.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the mercenaries of plundering Mali’s resources in exchange for protection from the military government.

Russia is perceived by part of the population as a more effective ally in the fight against armed groups. In February, thousands of anti-French protesters waving Russian flags and burning cardboard cutouts of French President Emmanuel Macron took to the streets of the capital Bamako to cheer the expulsion of the French ambassador.

Relations between Mali and its former colonizer soured in January when the military government reneged on an agreement to hold elections in February and offered to hold power until 2025.

Maiga’s transitional government has announced that it will hold elections in 2024.