Unidentified gunmen on motorbikes attacked two villages in central Mali, leaving at least 41 dead as a result, on the evening of June 17th, the mayor of Yoro, Issiaka Ganame told Reuters.
The attack on the villages of Yoro and Gangafani 2 is a further exacerbation of the ethnic crisis in the country. Ethnic militias regularly carry out attacks on civilians from other ethnicities and there are also Islamist militants active in the country.
The victims of June 17 raids were mostly ethnic Dogons, said Issiaka Ganame, the mayor of Yoro, where 24 people were killed. Another 17 died in Gangafani 2.
“About 100 unidentified armed men circulating on motos all of a sudden invaded Yoro and fired on the population,” Ganame told Reuters. “Then they descended on the village of Gangafani 2, which is about 15 km (9 miles) away.”
The ethnic war in recent months is between Dogon hunters against Fulani herders.
In the previous week, on June 10th, a central Malian village, also inhabited by Dogon was attacked by gunmen in an overnight attack, leaving 95 dead.
“Right now, we have 95 dead civilians. The bodies are burned, we are continuing to look for others,” an official in Koundou district, where the village of Sobane-Kou is located, told AFP.
Ali Dolo, the mayor, told Reuters that 95 charred bodies had been found so far, and the death toll was likely to rise as much of the village was still burning. “He said only 50 of the village’s 300 inhabitants had responded to a roll call.
These may be a response to one of the bloodiest raids that took place on March 23rd. More than 130 people from the Fulani community were killed in an attack on two central Malian villages by armed men wearing traditional Dogon hunters’ clothing.
Even earlier, on January 1st an attack on Fulani left 39 civilians dead.
The attack took place while UN ambassadors were in Mali to discuss increased violence.
Separately, Jihadists are also active, in March, a Mali-based al-Qaeda affiliate said it had carried out an attack last week on a military base that left more than 20 soldiers dead.
At least 488 Fulani civilians died in attacks carried out in the central regions of Mopti and Segou between January 1, 2018, and May 16, 2019, according to the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In the same period, armed Fulanis had “caused 63 deaths” among civilians in the Mopti region.
“As we recently stated in our statement on 27 March following the attack of Ogossagou Peulh village, we are extremely alarmed by the ethnically motivated attacks against civilians in central in Mali as demonstrated in this recent attack against the Dogon community,” the UN Officials stated. “We cannot stand by silently in the face of ethnic-based violence, human rights violations and abuses. We call on the authorities and all parties involved, including the international community, to fulfill their responsibility to prevent atrocity crimes and protect civilians,” the Officials reiterated.
Mali is part of the Sahel, which is a sensitive area in Africa plagued by ethnic violence and terrorism, it is a strong focal point of the EU’s external policy, as well as the UN. However, most of their undertakings are purely formal or simply ineffective.
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