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October 25, 2018 | Africa Mali

Jihadist-hit Mali extends emergency by a year

Mali has been grappling with violence since 2012.  By Michele CATTANI (AFP/File)
Mali has been grappling with violence since 2012. By Michele CATTANI (AFP/File)

Jihadist-hit Mali on Thursday extended by a year a state of emergency in place since a deadly November 2015 attack on a top hotel in the capital Bamako which claimed 20 lives.

The state of emergency was due to expire at the end of this month and the cabinet approved the extension, a statement said Thursday.

It gives authorities greater powers to take measures to pre-empt attacks and accords more powers to security forces and judicial authorities, the government said.

The extension was necessary to "reinforce preventive measures to prevent the threat of attacks on people and their goods," it said.

The eighth largest country in Africa and one of the poorest in the world, the landlocked Sahel state has been grappling with violence since 2012.

Tuareg rebels staged an uprising in northern Mali which jihadists then exploited to take over key cities.

The extremists were routed in a French-led military operation in 2013 but large stretches of the country remain out of government control.

In central Mali, the situation has been made even more unstable by a resurgence of violence between ethnic groups, notably Fulani nomadic herders and Dogon farmers over access to land.

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