Mali’s PM Describes Security Force’s Actions ‘Regrettable’, Apologies for Killings of Protesters

Mali protesters Protesters on top of a barricade near the Salam mosque of Badalabougou, in Bamako, Mali, last week.Credit...Michele Cattani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Prime Minister of Mali, Boubou Cisse has described what happened during the last mass protest witnessed in the capital, Bamako as ‘Regrettable’ and apologized for the incident.

A mass protest was held against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the capital Bamako last week Friday, and security forces were forced to open fire on the anti-government protesters.

This caused clashes that ensued for several days between the protesters and the security forces, leaving 11 people dead.

The Prime Minister during an interview with France 24 late on Thursday said,

“Unfortunately, there were excesses. What happened is very regrettable. We apologize for it,”

He said prosecutors had opened an investigation into the violence.

On Tuesday, Cisse wrote to the security ministry demanding an explanation for the deployment of an anti-terrorist special operations force on the streets of Bamako during the protests.

The coalition of religious, political and civil society leaders behind the protests accuses Keita of failing to address violence by jihadist groups and ethnic militias, of mismanaging the economy and of enabling corruption.

A delegation from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS is in Bamako this week to try to broker a resolution, but Keita’s opponents have so far refused to withdraw their demand that the president resign.

The Prime Minister however rejected the idea, saying,

“It’s inconceivable because the president … was democratically elected,” he said. “I think it’s important … that anyone who arrives at this level of responsibility in our country arrives there through the democratic process.”

The ECOWAS delegation, led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, is scheduled to meet with Keita and opposition leaders on today.

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