AU Commission chief calls for calm, restraint in Mali

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The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Mahamat, has urged political actors in Mali to refrain from acts that may further worsen the situation in that country.

One month ahead of Mali’s presidential elections in July, violent clashes occurred on Saturday in the capital city Bamako sparked by demonstrations by opposition parties.

In a statement on Monday, the Chairperson of the 55-member Commission regretted the incidents, whereby more than a dozen were reportedly injured during the demonstration organised in Bamako by the opposition.

Wishing a speedy recovery to those who were injured in the incidents, the Chairperson of the AU Commission has called on Malian political actors to exercise restraint and refrain from any act likely to induce greater political polarization.

Mahamat underlined that all Malian political leaders need to work towards the holding of peaceful, smooth, and transparent elections in July.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday also called for calm and restraint by all parties in the country.

Guterres also urged political actors and the civil society to favor dialogue in order to maintain an environment conducive to the holding of credible and transparent elections.

Newsmen reports that the opposition said some 30 people were hospitalized — including prominent opposition figure Etienne Sissoko who was left “in a coma” — after security forces fired “live ammunition” at protesters on Saturday.

The government rejected the claims outright.

Earlier Sunday, the Security Ministry said the security forces were bound by three words — “professionalism, courtesy and firmness” and that the police had acted to maintain public order.

The ministry denounced the protestors for having injured a policeman in the head.

A “transparency” rally outside the party headquarters of President Ibrahim Keita attracted several hundred people. Police fired tear gas and beat demonstrators with batons.