On December 4, unidentified militants killed at least 31 people in the central Malian region of Mopti when they fired upon a bus ferrying people from the town of Songho to a local market in the town of Bandiagara, some ten kilometers away.
In a statement, Mali’s interim government announced that “an armed attack was perpetrated against a truck heading to Bandiagara fair.”
“Unidentified armed bandits attacked and set fire to a truck carrying fairground workers halfway between the village of Songho and the paved road. The toll is 31 dead, 17 wounded and the truck burned to ashes,” the statement read. “Reinforcements are currently being deployed to the area and are leading a thorough sweep of the area to track down the assailants.”
Transitional president Assimi Goita declared three days of mourning with flags to be lowered to half-staff on public buildings from December 5.
Mopti is a hotspot of violence in Mali. Terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS are known to be present and active in the region. The hideous attack has not been claimed by any of these groups, as for now.
🇲🇱 Mali’nin Mopti bölgesinde yolcu dolu otobüse teröristler tarafından düzenlenen saldırıda 33 kişi yaşamını yitirdi, 7 kişi de yaralandı. pic.twitter.com/n5yWJq0WiA
— Gündem Yazarı (@gundemyazari_TR) December 4, 2021
Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the situation in Mali, especially in the central region, appears to be getting worse.
Earlier this year, the country’s interim government considered a contract with Russia’s private military company Wagner to crack down on terrorist groups in the country. The step provoked France and the EU who threatened Bamako with counter measures.