Angry protesters in Mali kill an embattled police chief

A police chief in Mali’s central Ségou region has been killed by protesters who were calling for him to resign, the authorities have confirmed.

Issiaka Tounkara, head of police in the town of Niono, died on Thursday when protesters torched the police station.

“A horde of people armed with projectiles of all kinds ransacked the station and attacked the staff,” a statement from the security ministry said.

Police officers at the station fled after firing warning shots and efforts to repulse the crowd failed. One protester also died.

The demonstrators were angered by the return of the police chief, who had been working in another region, the MaliJet news website reports.

Some residents also accused him of having links with bandits, the AFP news agency reports.

“Since his appointment, there have been more motorcycle thefts, robberies and looting,” alleged one protester.

According to MaliJet, the row was triggered by a police operation to check vehicle stickers in the town.

Mali is grappling with chronic insecurity and lawlessness, despite recent ceasefire deals, fuelled by the presence of armed groups in the region.

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