Up to 132 civilians have been killed in attacks by suspected terrorists this weekend in three towns in central Mali, the Malian government said in a statement. Although the attacks have not yet been claimed, the perpetrator of the attack, according to the country’s presidency, points to the Katiba Macina jihadist group (also known as the Macina Liberation Front). The authorities say that some of those responsible have been identified. A group of armed men stormed three towns and killed dozens of civilians.
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The attacks have occurred in the communities of Dilassaguou, where the bulk of the murders took place, as well as Diaweli and Dessaguou, according to sources consulted by EFE. These sources increase the number of deaths in the three locations to 188.
In a message broadcast by the public channel ORTM, the president of Mali, Colonel Assimi Goita, also decreed three days of mourning for the deceased and promised that their murderers “will not go unpunished.”
Most of those killed, according to local sources, are young and among them would be the head of this town. The community of residents of Bandiagara-Bankass and other members of the Dogon ethnic group (predominant in the area) have been pressuring the Malian transitional government to react since then, but the military junta that governs the country has not yet ruled on the facts.
Nouhoum Togo, a local Bankass politician, told the agency AFP that the jihadist militants took revenge for some operations carried out by the Malian army against them, in that area, a couple of weeks earlier. According to Togo, the assailants arrived at the sites of the attacks by motorbike, took several civilians hostage and shot many others, also looting and burning local houses.
In the first three months of this year, at least 543 civilians died in acts of violence perpetrated in different regions of Mali, three times more than in the previous quarter, according to the UN Mission in the African country (MINUSMA). The same institution has announced that it will conduct an investigation in the country into these events and will send a support mission “to protect civilians.”
The Malian State, which is in a transitory process after two military coups in less than a year, does not control large areas of the country, specifically in the north and center, where the central administration is practically absent while the attacks perpetrated by different groups increase jihadists.