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By Godfrey Olukya 12-9-2012

Government in Mauritania and it’s citizens are bitter over Malian troops shooting dead 16 Muslim men at Diabali checkpoint in central Mali on Saturday.

Hundreds of Mauritanians have held protests outside the presidency in
Nouakchott demanding government action against the killers.

Out of the 16 dead Muslim men, 8 were Mauritanians while nine were from Mali. Eye witnesses said the Muslim men were shot from close range yet they did not try to resist arrest.

The bodies of shot Mauritanians have today afternoon been flown to their country.

‘The men were killed for nothing.’ said Mauritanian police officer, Ahmed Aiz. ‘They belonged to the Dawa Islamist sect and according to reliable information they were traveling to Bamako to attend a religious conference.’

Although at first the Mali army officers tried to condemn the dead men for failing to stop their vehicle at a check point, later they conceded that they killed them by mistake.

Security in Mali is tight ever since the Islamists seized power in the country’s north. Mali soldiers reportedly at times shoot civilians thinking that they are Islamists.

Mali’s foreign minister Tieman Coulibaly, has flown to Mauritanian in what some political analysts believe to be an attempt to mend relationship between the two countries. He has been received by his counterpart, foreign minister Hamadi Ould Hamadi. He is expected to meet meet Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel later on.

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