Thousands rally in Mali to protest ethnic violence

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Thousands rallied in the Malian capital Bamako on Friday to protest at the failure of the government and international peacekeepers to stem rising ethnic and jihadist violence, notably the massacre of around 160 villagers last month. The protest was one of the largest in Mali in recent years. It followed the March 23 massacre by suspected militiamen from the Dogon ethnic group of rival Fulani herders in the village of Ogossagou, the deadliest act of ethnic bloodshed in West Africa’s Sahel region in living memory. Six years after French forces intervened to halt a jihadist advance from Mali’s desert north, the violence has spread across the Sahel, an arid region between the Sahara desert and Africa’s savannas, to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. While helmeted riot police looked on, protesters held signs calling on Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the United Nations MINUSMA peacekeeping mission to leave.