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Mali Protests: Calm returns in Kidal amidst high tensions

Mali Protests: Calm returns in Kidal amidst high tensions

Mali

Calm is slowly returning in Kidal, nothern Mali, but tensions still remain high after the violent events of April 18 that left two protesters dead, and four others injured.

Many families hurriedly fled their homes after violent protests against foreign forces erupted in mid-April. The destruction is still visible in the aftermath.

The protests saw demonstrators force entry onto an airport runway and nearly a week later, the airport is still occupied by thirty women who have set up tents in the restricted area.

“We are occupying the airport to protest against the arrest of our brothers who were unjustly arrested by foreign troops,” said one of the women.

“We are against terrorism, but our major issue is the arrest of innocent civilians in their homes. Everybody knows they have no connection with Al Qaeda, this is just a pretext put forward by these foreign troops,” said another.

An integrated stabilization UN mission to Mali also known by its acronym MINUSMA, which visited the country in the wake of the protests, submitted its preliminary report to Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the chief of MINUSMA.

The report does not accurately determine the origin of the fatal shootings, but says that UN peacekeepers fired warning shots on a container, in which some protesters were.

The mission has launched further investigations into the violence.