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Villagers burnt, children dead as Mali village attack claims 100

BBC


Nearly 100 people have been killed in an attack in a village in central Mali inhabited by the Dogon ethnic group, officials say.

The attack happened in Sobame Da, near Sanga town in the Mopti region.

The search for bodies is ongoing, but officials say 95 people have been found dead, with many of the bodies burned.

There have been numerous attacks in Mali in recent months, some ethnically driven, some carried out by jihadist groups.

Clashes between Dogon hunters and semi-nomadic Fulani herders are frequent.

Mali’s government said “suspected terrorists” had attacked the village at around 03:00 local time. At least 19 people were still missing, it said.

But the mayor of nearby Bankass, Moulaye Guindo, told Reuters news agency that Fulanis from that district had attacked Sobane-Kou after nightfall.

“About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups,” a survivor who called himself Amadou Togo told the AFP agency. “They first surrounded the village and then attacked – anyone who tried to escape was killed.”

“No-one was spared – women, children, elderly people,” he added.

No group has officially said it was responsible for the attack.

“Right now we have 95 dead civilians. The bodies are burned, we are continuing to look for others,” a local official told AFP.

The Dogon people have lived in central Mali for centuries, and live a largely traditional way of life as settled farmers.

Many Fulani, on the other hand, are semi-nomadic herders who move across large distances in West Africa.

Friction between farmers and the roaming herders over resources is long-standing – but clashes between them have increased since a militant Islamist uprising in northern Mali in 2012.

Both sides accuse the other of carrying out attacks amid the unrest.

The Fulani, a largely Muslim ethnic group, have been accused of having links with the Islamist uprising. But for their part, the Fulani accuse a Dogon self-defence association, Dan Na Ambassagou, of attacks on them.