Mali PM vows to quickly form an ‘open’ government

Malian Prime Minister Boubou Cisse on Saturday vowed to rapidly form a government “open to facing the challenges of the day”, adding that the death toll of the country’s worst civil unrest in years had risen to four.

“The president and I remain open to dialogue. I will very quickly set up an executive with the intention of being open to facing the challenges of the day,” Cisse said while visiting a hospital.

Violence broke out at mass protests in the capital Bamako on Friday demanding President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resign over a long-running jihadist conflict, economic woes and perceived government corruption.

The demonstrators attacked parliament and ransacked the national television station. 

Initial reports said two had been killed in the violence, and dozens wounded — but on Saturday Cisse said that four had died.

Cisse has been prime minister since last year, and Keita reappointed him on June 11 following parliamentary elections in March and April that sparked a movement calling for Keita to go.

Months after the elections, the fragile West African country still has no government.

Keita has increasingly tried to appease a newly formed opposition movement, opening the door to forming a national unity government. 

The opposition has rejected his attempts, insisting that he step down.