Massacre in Mali Leaves at Least 95 Dead, Government Says


BAMAKO, Mali — At least 95 people in an ethnic Dogon village were killed early Monday morning in the latest massacre to destabilize the West African nation of Mali, a government official said on Monday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, though it appeared that it could have been an act of retaliation.

Tensions have been high since a militia from the Dogon ethnic group was accused of carrying out a larger massacre in an ethnic Fulani village in March.

Youssouf Toloba, who leads the Dogon militia known as Dan Na Ambassagou, has denied that his fighters carried out the bloodshed in March that left at least 157 people dead. Some Fulani leaders, however, have vowed to carry out reprisal attacks.

Amadou Sangho, spokesman for Mali’s interior security ministry, said another 19 people were missing after the Dogon village of Sobane was attacked around 3 a.m. on Monday. The village is in the regional subdivision of Sangha, a stronghold of the Dogon militia blamed for the March attack.

The latest attackers are suspected “terrorists,” Mali’s government said in a statement on Monday. “This carnage” also left homes burned and animals killed, the statement said. Security reinforcements were deployed to track the perpetrators.

Ethnic violence has risen steadily in central Mali over the last several years, exacerbated by the presence of Islamic extremists who have moved south from their strongholds in the arid north.

The Fulani are accused of working alongside extremists who claim to be part of the Islamic State of Greater Sahara. They have attacked Dogon villages and prevented residents from cultivating their land.

The Fulani in turn have alleged that the Dogons are collaborating with Mali’s military, though there is no firm sign of state support.

Human Rights Watch has said the Dan Na Ambassagou militia has been implicated in scores of deadly attacks over the past year. Mali’s president has vowed to eliminate it.

António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, said in his latest report on Mali late last month that the government must address the arming of ethnic self-defense groups and the proliferation of arms in central Mali or “there is a high risk of further escalation that could lead to the commission of atrocity crimes.”

The unrest in central Mali has displaced some 60,000 people, the secretary general wrote, adding that he was “appalled” by the surge in violence and its effect on civilians.

Source link