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PM: Anti-Jihadist Forces to be 'Strengthened' in Mali

FILE - Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga shakes hand with the Mayor of Mopti during his visit in Mali's central region on Oct. 14, 2018.

The Malian prime minister on Sunday announced a boost to anti-jihadist operations alongside a program to disarm and reintegrate militias in the centre of the troubled country.

Without specifying the amount of investment, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga said defense and security forces in the region would be "strengthened," including the development of river patrols.

Malian forces, with the aid of France, fought off a jihadist insurgency that took control of large parts of the north in 2012 but large areas remain out of the government's control.

The "Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process" will be launched in the central Mopti region on Monday, Maiga wrote on Twitter.

He insisted his government "does not fight against any community but fights against insecurity."

Earlier this month, the prime minister said hundreds of police officers and soldiers would be sent to reinforce the northern city of Timbuktu amid growing concerns about security in the region.

Mali remains prone to violence despite a 2015 peace accord designed to isolate radical Islamists and the continued presence of French and UN forces in the region.

Since then, attacks have extended to central and southern regions of Mali and over the border into neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.