Mali City Erupts In Protest After Police Kill Teen

Protests have erupted in the western Malian city of Kayes after a police officer shot a youngster dead, escalating simmering anti-government sentiment in the area.

Young men were riding motorbikes on Monday night — soon after Mali lifted an unpopular night-time curfew — when an off-duty police officer attempted to stop them and subsequently shot and killed an 18-year-old named Seyba Tamboura, according to government officials.

Mamadou Zoumana Sidibe, the governor of the Kayes region, said Tamboura’s friends torched a police station during the night in response.

They then had barricaded themselves on a bridge in the city, where they remained on Tuesday.

“This morning tension is still high,” Sidibe said.

Security Minister Salif Traore has travelled to Kayes to oversee the police operation. “We have asked the forces not to use force,” he said.

The unrest follows a string of anti-government protests in Kayes, concerning both Mali’s legislative election and its coronavirus restrictions.

The West African state held a long-delayed parliamentary election in March in which the results for dozens of seats were disputed.

Protesters took to the streets in several cities, including Kayes, when the Supreme Court declared the winners of the contested seats in late April.

City residents had also demonstrated against a night-time curfew meant to stem the spread of coronavirus, which the government lifted on Saturday.

Seydou Diallo, the regional director of Kayes police force, apologised for the killing of Tamboura and said the offending officer had been arrested.

“We cannot tolerate such indiscipline,” he said. “This is an unfortunate incident for the police”.

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