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Jan 27, 2015 10:49 AM

UN: 2 killed, 6 hurt in northern Mali protest

The Associated Press

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) A demonstration outside a U.N. base in northern Mali descended into violence Tuesday, leaving at least two people dead and six wounded, according to a U.N. official.

A group of protesters that marched on the base threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, said Olivier Salgado, the spokesman for the U.N. mission in Mali known as MINUSMA. When they wounded two U.N. police officers, U.N. forces responded with rounds of tear gas, Salgado said. He said two people were killed and four others wounded in the melee.

But two witnesses Attouyoube Maiga, a passerby, and Aboubacrine Abouhayata, a local radio journalist told The Associated Press they saw U.N. troops fire live rounds into the crowd.

The demonstrators had surrounded the base to protest a temporary security zone imposed by the troops over the weekend. U.N. troops put in place the zone in which only they can carry weapons after a clash last week with Tuareg separatists near the town. The Tuareg rebels have since said they are suspending cooperation with the U.N. mission.

U.N. troops are in Mali to restore stability in the north, which was first overrun by Tuareg separatists and then al Qaida-linked Islamist extremists following a coup in 2012. A French-led intervention in 2013 scattered the extremists. But recent months have seen repeated attacks by the Islamists, and tensions are also rising with the Tuaregs, despite the start of peace talks between the rebels and the government.


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