Mali govt criticized by UN, EU for lethal response to protests

International and regional powers fear political turmoil in Mali could undermine their military campaigns against Islamist insurgents in West Africa’s Sahel region. The United Nations has over 13,000 peacekeeping soldiers in Mali.

The organizations “condemn the use of lethal force in the context of maintaining public order and invite all stakeholders to exercise restraint,” the statement said.

It added that M5-RFP leaders arrested over the weekend should be released “to create the conditions for political dialog.”

The M5-RFP, a coalition of religious, political and civil society leaders, has repeatedly rejected concessions offered by Keita as insufficient, including his offer on Saturday to dissolve the Constitutional Court as the M5-RFP has demanded.

The most prominent M5-RFP leader, Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko, urged his supporters on Sunday to stay calm. “We can really find and obtain everything we want through patience and good behavior,” he told French radio. (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Aaron Ross Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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