Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga was forced to rest by his doctor on Saturday after months of intense exertion, his office has said.
“After working without interruption for 14 months, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Choguel Kokalla Maiga was forced to rest by his doctor,” his office said on its Facebook page on Saturday.
“He will resume his activities next week, God willing,” the statement added.
An adviser quoted by Reuters news agency denied previous media reports about Paris-based magazine Jeune Afrique that Maiga had been hospitalized after a stroke.
Mali’s ruling military government appointed the former opposition leader as prime minister of the transitional government she 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 delays in elections.
ECOWAS, West Africa’s main political and economic bloc, has urged Mali to honor its commitment to hold presidential and parliamentary elections following a military coup in August 2020. The new leadership has pledged to hold democratic elections in 2024 .
Maiga repeatedly condemned France for “leaving” Mali in its conflict against armed groups in the country, which was the epicenter of a bloody 10-year campaign by armed groups in the region.
Earlier on Saturday, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali announced it would resume troop rotation for the nearly 12,000-strong mission on Monday, a month after Malian authorities suspended them and accused foreign soldiers of entering the country without permission.
It said they would resume talks with representatives of the mission, known as MINUSMA, on how to coordinate the deployment of troops.
Tensions between Mali and the UN have been high since 49 soldiers from Côte d’Ivoire, including members of the special forces, were detained by Malian authorities last month.
Mali said the Ivorian soldiers did not have proper permission 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 streamlined rotation procedure and that the mission’s request to resume rotation had been granted.
Relations between Mali and troop-contributing countries remain tense. On Friday, Germany said it was suspending its military reconnaissance mission, which provides intelligence to MINUSMA, after Malian authorities withheld a flight permit.
Mali’s foreign minister denied on Twitter that the government had done so and called on Germany to adhere to the new mechanism for approving troop rotations.
Western powers have repeatedly criticized Russian mercenaries working for Moscow’s controversial Wagner group in Mali.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused the mercenaries of looting Mali’s resources in exchange for the protection of the military government.
Russia is seen by a section 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 poured into the streets of the capital Bamako to cheer for the expulsion of the French ambassador.
Relations between Mali and its former colonizer deteriorated in January as the military government reneged on an agreement to hold elections in February, proposing to retain power until 2025.
Maiga’s transitional government has announced that it will hold elections in 2024.