3 dead, 32 wounded after police open fire at Mali protest

World Today

Map of Mali

Hospital officials in northern Mali say at least three people are dead and 32 wounded after a protest in the town of Gao turned violent.

One protester, Attayoub Maiga, said demonstrators were marching peacefully Tuesday when police opened fire as they approached the town’s central market near police headquarters.

There was no immediate comment from police. The Malian government had banned the demonstration of people opposed to a peace accord signed more than a year ago with various armed groups in the north.

Boubacar Maiga, an official at Gao’s hospital, confirmed the deaths.

Violence in Mao follows a turbulent week in Mali. Last Friday, a local officials says two armed men on motorcycles killed two gendarmes and wounded a soldier in the northeast Mali town of Menaka.

And a former Tuareg separatist leader, Boubacar Ould Hamadi, said armed men on Thursday killed another former separatist leader in Gao as he left a friend’s home.

Both attacks follow an assault on a convoy in Timbuktu last Wednesday that killed three soldiers.

Extremists have increasingly targeted Mali’s military and international peacekeepers working to stabilize the country.

The U.N. Security Council voted Wednesday to increase the peacekeeping mission’s force by more than 2,500 troops.