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In Mali Troops fire on protest in Gao, killing 2

"Look, I was shot in my arm and foot," said a man running away from the crowd, nursing bleeding wounds.

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Malian troops fire on protest in Gao, killing two play

Malian troops

(Defence Web)

Malian soldiers opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the northern city of Gao on Tuesday, killing two and wounding several, two doctors at a hospital that received the bodies told Reuters.

The protesters were angry about the introduction of a new interim authority set to take charge of the region on Friday. Some of them had knives, a Reuters witness said.

A year ago the Malian government signed a peace deal with Tuareg-led rebels aimed at ending a long conflict that has destabilised the desert country and made it a base for violent jihad. There are already signs the pact is unraveling.

The government and the rebel alliance - Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) - accuse each other of stalling on implementation, and the rebels complain that the U.N.-backed deal falls far short of their demands.

Thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Gao, marching to the central police station and surrounding it. Some set fire to tyres, filling the air with acrid smoke, and others pelted the police with stones.

Security forces attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas then the military opened fire, killing two people and wounding several.

"Look, I was shot in my arm and foot," said a man running away from the crowd, nursing bleeding wounds.

Shooting had stopped and much of the crowd had been dispersed by 11 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), but a heavy military presence continued to patrol the streets.

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