#Mali: police interventions against the opposition, strong tensions in Bamako

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Several Malian opposition figures were arrested on Saturday, the day after a day of mobilization interspersed with near insurgency unrest that left four dead. The Malian Prime Minister has declared that he wants to form an “open government” very quickly.

The threat of an escalation of violence continued to hang over Mali on Saturday, July 11, with police interventions and opposition arrests the day after a day of mobilization marked by violent intrusions at the headquarters of national television and Parliament.

After Issa Kaou Djim and Clément Dembélé the day before, two other leaders of the so-called June 5 movement, Choguel Maïga, and Mountaga Tall, as well as two men described as thinking heads, Oumara Diarra and Adama Ben Diarra, were arrested by the forces officials, officials and witnesses quoted by AFP said.

The authorities have remained silent on these operations.

Bamako under high voltage

At the same time, the city that still bore the scars of Friday remained the scene of clashes and incidents which maintained a climate of great nervousness and uncertainty about the future.

These incidents went on intensifying as the evening approached, groups of young people continuing to set up roadblocks, throw stones, and challenge the security forces.

The anti-riot forces mounted on pick-ups and supported by an armored vehicle dispersed with tear gas some 150 young people gathered in the Badalabougou district near one of the three bridges connecting the two parts of Bamako by and on the other side of the Niger river, noted an AFP journalist.

Security forces also targeted the headquarters of CMAS, an opposition movement led by influential Imam Mahmoud Dicko, a member of the June 5 coalition, according to Reuters.

“While our activists were in a meeting, they came and attacked and ransacked our headquarters,” said coalition spokesman Nouhoum Togo.

Symbols of power targeted by the opposition

These police interventions came in the aftermath of the violent demonstrations against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta which led to the temporary occupation of the premises of public television and the Parliament.

At least four people have been killed and dozens injured in clashes, according to Prime Minister Boubou Cissé. The latter promised Saturday to form “very quickly” an open government.

Mali is going through a period of tension since the legislative elections last March, which exacerbates an already delicate situation given the presence of jihadists.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, re-elected for five years in 2018, said he was “open” Wednesday to the formation of a government of national unity and the dissolution of the Assembly provided that it does not cause the new crisis, but his opponents have rejected these concessions and are demanding his resignation.

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