Almost 100 Mali villagers are killed by gunmen in overnight raid

Cheryl Sanders
June 11, 2019

Almost 100 people have been killed in an attack in a village in central Mali inhabited by the Dogon ethnic group, officials say.

Clashes between Dogon hunters and semi-nomadic Fulani herders can occur over access to land and water.

"About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups", a survivor who called himself Amadou Togo told the AFP agency.

The U.N. Security Council plans to meet this month on Mali to discuss the renewal of what has become the world's deadliest active U.N. peacekeeping mission and whether it should focus on the protection of civilians, the rights group added.

Nineteen other villagers are missing, officials said Monday, as authorities continued to search for bodies.

The violence in central Mali is characterized by "killings, enforced disappearances and burning of villages on an appalling scale", Amnesty International said Monday.

The victims have included women and young children, and observers say hundreds of civilians were killed past year alone. It's the latest in a spate of deadly attacks in the region, which has seen escalating tensions between ethnic groups.

"The Dogon accuse the Fulani-Peulh of having ties to al-Qaida-linked extremist groups in Mali", Quist-Arcton reported.

The Dogon people have lived in central Mali for centuries, and live a largely traditional way of life as settled farmers.

These attacks, and other attacks by militant groups, have also caused political unrest.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for eh attack, which comes amid rising tensions between ethnic Dogons and ethnic Peuhls, who had threatened reprisal attacks following a massacre earlier this year.

After the attack, the Dogon Dan Na Ambassagou was banned by Mali's government.

The UN has described it as "an act of unspeakable barbarism". Intercommunal violence has killed 600 people there since March 2018, according to United Nations estimates.

"The availability of weapons of war and the pretext of fighting jihadist groups have opened the floodgates to a level of ethnic-based violence that is without precedent in the region", he said. In 2013, they seized half of the country and were advancing on the capital, Bamako.

Maiga warned at the time that the Islamic State's downfall in Syria could push more fighters to the Sahel, a region that includes parts of Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

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