Armed men have killed at least 30 villagers in Mali in simultaneous attacks on several villages in the centre of the country, local officials said on Friday.
AFP news agency reports that the attacks took place on Wednesday in the Bankass region, but were not immediately confirmed because of the difficulty in accessing information from the area.
Officials did not immediately blame any group, but central Mali has become one of the flashpoints of the country’s conflict, with regular jihadist assaults and intercommunal fighting between ethnic groups.
The Mali War, Northern Mali Conflict or Mali Civil War is a series of armed conflicts that started from January 2012 between the northern and southern parts of Mali in Africa. On 16 January 2012, several insurgent groups began fighting a campaign against the Malian government for independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali, which they called Azawad.
According to AFP news agnecy Armed uniformed men travelling in pick-up trucks attacked four villages populated by Dogon ethnic groups, one local official said by telephone, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
The attack left “at least 30 dead, including women, children, the elderly (and) many missing,” as well as damaging properties, he said.
A senior government official also speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the deaths of around 30 civilians, killed by gunmen in several villages.
Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the commune of Bankass, released a list of victims on Thursday that put the death toll at 32.
Other officials in the area said they believed the attacks were carried out by jihadists, who often say they are defending Fulani herders against rival Dogon farmers.
Unrest in central Mali has killed nearly 600 civilians this year, the United Nations said last month.
HumAngle gathered that clashes between the ethnic Fulani and Dogon communities have increased in recent months, with community-based militias initially formed for defence now launching attacks.
A spokesman for the Malian army could not be reached for comment. The army has been criticised by rights groups and residents for failing to protect civilians in central Mali.