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Published:
2019-03-24 20:58:48 BdST

More than 130 killed in Mali massacre as UN visits


More than 130 people were killed in an attack on a Fulani village in central Mali on Saturday, the United Nations said, as a delegation visited the country.

Survivors accused traditional Dogon hunters of carrying out the deadly raid
in Ogossagou, according to Boubacar Kane, the governor of Bankass district
which covers the village. A security source told AFP the victims were shot or
hacked to death with machetes.

“The Secretary-General is shocked and outraged by reports that at least 134
civilians, including women and children, have been killed,” Antonio
Guterres’s spokesman said in a statement, adding he called on Malian
authorities “to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to
justice”.

The attack was launched at dawn on Saturday in the village near the border
with Burkina Faso, said several sources. The district has been the scene of
frequent inter-communal violence.

Two witnesses questioned separately by AFP said hunters had burned down
nearly all the huts in the village.

Guterres’s spokesman said the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, provided air
support to deter further attacks and assisted with the evacuation of the
injured.

The massacre took place as a delegation from the United Nations Security
Council visited the Sahel region to assess the jihadist threat there.

Earlier the UN said the visiting ambassadors from the Security Council
countries met on Saturday with Mali’s Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga
and discussed with him the volatile situation in the centre of the country.

– Land disputes –

While local attacks are fuelled by accusations of grazing cattle on Dogon
land and disputes over access to land and water, the area is also troubled by
jihadist influence.

In the past four years, jihadist fighters have emerged as a threat in
central Mali. A group led by radical Islamist preacher Amadou Koufa has
recruited mainly from the Muslim Fulani community.

Since then, there have been repeated clashes between the nomadic Fulani
herders and the Dogon ethnic group.

Last year that violence cost the lives of 500 civilians, according to UN
figures.

In January, Dogon hunters were blamed for the killing of 37 people in
another Fulani village, Koulogon, in the same region.

The Fulani have repeatedly called for more protection from the authorities.
The government in Bamako has denied their accusations it turns a blind eye to
— or even encourages — Dogon attacks on the Fulani.

Once considered a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, Mali in
recent years has been dogged by a coup, civil war and Islamist terrorism.

Extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north in early
2012, but were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched
in January 2013.

In June 2015, Mali’s government signed a peace agreement with some armed
groups, but the jihadists remain active, and large tracts of the country
remain lawless.

Despite the presence of UN peacekeepers, a strong French military
contingent and the creation of a five-nation military force in the region,
jihadist violence has not abated.

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