Mali rebels kill 1 at protest


Security forces stand in front of relatives and supporters of soldiers fighting rebels Tuareg in the north, during a protest against the 'weak' response to attacks by the rebels, in Bamako on February 2, 2012. Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure has urged citizens not to attack civilian Tuareg, after retaliatory attacks on the community following the resumption of the Tuareg rebellion.



Malian rebels opened fire on protesters Tuesday, shooting at least one dead and injuring at least a dozen more.

Demonstrators in the town of Gao were protesting against the killing of local government official Idrissa Oumarou, who died on Monday, according to Agence France-Presse. There has been tension in the northern town recently over the three-month-old occupation by Tuareg and Islamist rebels.

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"We are marching to protest the death of our municipal councilor," said teacher Oumar Diankante, who accused the Tuareg rebels' National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) of shooting at protesters, reported AFP. "I have seen one person dead already, others say there are several dead."

Aguissa Ag Badara, a local guide who was among the protesters, also accused the MNLA of opening fire on the demonstration, according to CNN.

"I saw three people being shot. Others say there were several injured and many had to be taken to the hospital," Ag Badara told CNN.

Voice of America also reported that Gao residents spoke last week of their resentment toward MNLA and Islamist groups that seized control of northern Mali in April. Several people said they could not forgive the group's looting and destruction of buildings in the town.