In an interview with UN Radio, MINUSMA spokesperson, Olivier Salgado, confirmed that a protest took place in the north-eastern Malian city on 27 January with demonstrators reacting to the establishment of a temporary security zone in Tabankort, a town due north of Gao and in a restive area of the country.
Mr. Salgado noted that crowd had surrounded the MINUSMA compound and pelted the facility with stones and Molotov cocktails, injuring two UN Police officers. As a result, he added, UN Police used tear gas and fired warning shots in order to disperse the crowd and prevent it from entering the compound.
The local press have reported four dead, three of them by gunshot, and eight others wounded among the protestors, although MINUSMA could not issue a confirmation.
“A full investigation by MINUSMA is ongoing to determine facts, to confirm casualties, and clarify how and by whom they have been harmed,” the MINUSMA Spokesperson continued.
Meanwhile, at a press briefing in New York, UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said MINUSMA had called on all concerned to stay calm and refrain from any action that could distract from this investigation or divert further MINUSMA from its focus, which is to bring the parties to respect the ceasefire and resume political talks in Algiers.
In addition, Mr. Dujarric said the Mission urged all stakeholders involved in the Mali peace process to behave responsibly and to call on their supporters to refrain from more violence.