Some 10,000 people demonstrated in Bamako on Friday, April 5, to denounce intercommunal violence in central Mali and perceived government inaction to address persistent insecurity in the region. US diplomatic authorities have been ordered to shelter in place as protesters - gathered near the Monument de l'indépendance - have been reportedly clashing with security forces. Security forces have fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators, and unconfirmed reports claim protesters have set cars on fire and have erected roadblocks amid the heightened security presence.
Continuing clashes between protesters and security forces and accompanying transportation disruptions are to be expected in Bamako over the coming hours. Related demonstrations are possible over the coming days and weeks, and similar clashes cannot be ruled out.
Over 160 members of the Fulani ethnic community were killed in Ogossagou (Bankass circle, Mopti region) on March 23. Imam Mahmoud Dicko, the organizer of the April 5 demonstration and the president of the High Islamic Council (HCIM), is calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéïta, claiming that the government has failed to address security concerns for all people throughout Mali.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite the presence of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world. Since 2013, some 170 peacekeepers have been killed in Mali.
Individuals in Bamako are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, defer all nonessential movement, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel. Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, all those present in Mali are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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