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In Mali 1 dead in protest over detained radio presenter

Rasbath has accused President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of being unable to manage the Malian army

  • Published:
One dead in protest over detained Mali radio presenter play

People hold signs reading "Free Rasbath", referring to radio presenter Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, during a demonstration in front of Bamako's court on August 17, 2016.

(AFP Habibou Kouyate)

One person was killed and several more wounded Wednesday in Mali during a protest over the arrest of a popular radio presenter.

Medical sources confirmed a passerby was killed walking through the protest in the capital, Bamako, as demonstrators clashed with security forces who fired tear gas.

Eleven people were also hurt in the skirmishes, two of them seriously, sources at Gabriel Toure hospital said.

The demonstration was sparked by the arrest on Monday of Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, a government minister's son also known as "Rasbath", whose polemical presence on local radio has raised the ire of the authorities.

Supporters had gathered outside court to show their support where the young presenter had been due to appear in connection with a police investigation into whether he broke public morality rules.

But because of the unrest, the court hearing was postponed until a later date, a judicial source told AFP.

Rasbath has accused President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of being unable to manage the Malian army and attacked the prime minister and several senior military figures on his show "Carte sur table" (Card on the table).

He comes from establishment stock himself as the son of land affairs minister Mohamed Ali Bathily, but is now facing allegations of "offending public decency" over his broadcasts.

Political tensions over the army are high following a massacre on July 19 of 17 soldiers at a military camp in Nampala, central Mali, which also left dozens wounded.

Rasbath had criticised top brass for what he said was poor leadership, making direct reference to the Nampala incident.

The attack was claimed both by Ansar Dine Islamists and a newly formed group.

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