Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga. File/AFP
Mali's prime minister resigned along with his entire government on Thursday following criticism over their handling of an upsurge of violence in the centre of the country and a massacre last month that left 160 people dead.
A statement from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's office said he had accepted Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga's resignation and that of his government two weeks after mass protests erupted over the rising tide of violence.
Lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties had submitted a motion of no confidence against the government on Wednesday, blaming Maiga and his administration for failing to clamp down on the unrest.
"A prime minister will be named very soon and a new government will be put in place after consultations with all political forces" from both the ruling and opposition sides, the statement from Keita's office said.
The president had on Tuesday said in a televised address that he had "heard the anger", without explicitly naming the prime minister.
The government had come under mounting pressure over its handling of violence in the restive Mopti region and especially a massacre on March 23 in which 160 people were killed in the village of Ogossagou near the border with Burkina Faso.
Members of the Dogon ethnic group -- a hunting and farming community with a long history of tensions with the nomadic Fulani people over access to land -- were blamed for the mass killing.
An AFP reporter at the time said many homes in the village had been burned down and the ground was littered with corpses.
The Fulani have also been accused of supporting a preacher, Amadou Koufa, who rose to prominence in central Mali four years ago.
So-called self-defence groups emerged in the Dogon community with the declared role of providing protection against the insurgents.
But the militia, called the Dan Nan Ambassagou, also used its powers to attack the Fulani, and was ordered to be dissolved after the village massacre.
The UN Security Council travels to Mali and Burkina Faso this week for an up-close look at the worrisome Sahel region, where an extremist insurgency is showing no signs of weakening and is driving mass displacement.
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The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00am on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said.
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