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Malian protest leader labels arrest as ‘assassination attempt’

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Protest rocks Mali after rejection of President Keita’s concessions

One of the detained Mali protest leaders freed, after three days of unrest has denounced his arrest calling it an assassination attempt.

He said he was kidnapped and slept two days in an unsanitary washroom with no food, no contact, total isolation.

Malian authorities on Monday freed political opponents whom security forces had detained following recent violent protests against the president, in an apparent bid to calm seething tensions in the country.

ALSO READ: Mali president’s son, Karim Keita, quits parliament role amidst protests

“I wasn’t arrested, I was kidnapped. You see, they came here to my house at 11:00 p.m., banged on the door and disguised themselves as part of the family. They came in, they dragged me out of my living room almost naked and took me away. So for two days, I slept in an unsanitary washroom with no food, no contact, in total isolation. So for me, it was an assassination attempt,” Kaou Djim said while narrating his story.

The protest leader reiterated that at this time, he was more than determined because the support of the people has convinced him that he is on the right track, but still remain in a peaceful and republican spirit.

“Everyone has just seen that [Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta] is not consistent and that IBK is not in the Republic. So the people are really determined for IBK to leave. But we want it to be peaceful and democratic. You think that the people just went out so that there would be deaths and that we would be arrested and then released,” Djim said.

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After three days of unrest in the capital Bamako, the situation remained tense as stone-throwing protesters clashed with police, who responded with tear gas.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is facing a mounting wave of protests sparked by the outcome of a long-delayed parliamentary poll, but whose underlying causes include discontent over his handling of Mali’s jihadist insurgency.

The 75-year-old has been in power since 2013. A rally on Friday urging Keita to resign turned violent after protesters blocked bridges, stormed the premises of the state broadcaster and attacked the parliament building.

Eleven people have died and 124 have been injured since then, according to a senior official at a major Bamako hospital.

Africa News

Vanguard

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