Envoys from Mali’s neighbors led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan are in Bamako in a bid to mediate in an escalating political crisis ahead of new high-risk protests. Representatives from the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are having to bridge apparently irreconcilable differences between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and a protest movement that is demanding his resignation. Fresh protests have been set for Friday, a week after demonstrations that ignited three days of clashes with the security forces, leaving 11 dead and 158 injured, according to an official tally — Mali’s bloodiest toll from political unrest in years. Malians are worried and frustrated by an eight-year-old jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes and swept into Niger and Burkina Faso.
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