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UN Urges Mali To Repeal Ban On Political Activity

The UN has asked Mali's military junta to lift its recent ban on political activity in the West African country.

"We are deeply concerned by the decree suspending the activities of political parties and other civic associations," the UN has said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Opposition groups have also been critical of the move by the military authorities, which have been in power since a 2020 coup.

It has further inflamed tensions that have been growing since the junta broke its promise to hold presidential elections in February.

Cherif Koné, general co-ordinator of L'Appel du 20 février, said it was “out of the question to let the dictatorship prosper in the country”.

In its decree, the junta said broadcasts and the publication of political activities were also barred to maintain public order.

In response, influential cleric Mahmoud Dicko issued a video on social media to his supporters from exile vowing to return home.

He initially supported the coup but has since fallen out with the junta for failing to meet various deadlines for a return to civilian rule - leaving Mali for Algeria in December.

A few civil society and opposition groups called for demonstrations on Thursday, but they were banned. They also called for weekend protests.

"The Malian population should unite itself and protest against this decision," Ismael Sacko, president of the African Democratic Socialist Party (PSDA), told the BBC.