Jihadists sow panic in Mali by killing more than 130 civilians

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The center of the African country has been the scene of a new massacre. The terrorist attack occurred over the weekend in several towns in the Diallassagou commune, in the center. The official balance announced by the government is 132 people killed. The attacks have not been claimed but the government accuses the Katiba Macina, several of its combatants were identified among the assailants. The government has decreed three days of mourning.

By RFI’s African newsroom

Diallassagou, Diamweli, Dessagou. They arrived on motorcycles and armed around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and did not leave until late at night. On Sunday it was Ségué’s turn, according to several local sources.

The traditional dozo hunters of Ségué were able to repel the attack, yet one person was killed during the clashes. But it was in the other villages of the Diallassagou commune that the jihadists committed terrible massacres, kidnapping groups of men and then executing them in various places.

In their wake, the jihadists they set fire to the market, burning houses, shops and vehicles. They also took cattle. Hundreds of villagers had to flee, most to Bankass, some 40 kilometers away.

In February of last year, a local intercommunity peace agreement had been reached that worked for a time, silencing the weapons and allowing the inhabitants to move freely.

“The assailants attacked us the day before yesterday. They attacked three towns simultaneously: Diallassagou, Dianvéli and Dinsago, then Wélé. They burned certain parts of the towns and kidnapped people. Y this is not over yet! Cattle were also taken. In addition to the damage, this morning at 5 a.m. in the town of Djiguibobo, they attacked the dozo camp (traditional hunters), there is an exchange of gunfire. We call on the Malian authorities,” a resident who prefers to remain anonymous told RFI.

Response of the jihadists to the Fama operations, according to local officials

The attack has not been claimed but local sources point to the jihadists of the Katiba Macina, a member of Jnim, a group linked to Aqmi, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. They would have acted as retaliationaccuse some inhabitants of having broken the local agreement by assist the Malian army and its Russian auxiliary troops to carry out operations in the area.

During these operations, the most recent about ten days ago, the Fulani community would have been particularly targeted by attacks and looting. Water sources have also been destroyed.

The jihadists accuse certain inhabitants of Diallassagou, Diamwelli and Dessagou to work as informants and guides for the Malian military. These new massacres are on the one hand a direct response to the Malian army and a collective punishment of the inhabitants.

In a statement, the Minusma (UN) indicates that it has contacted the Malian authorities in order to send a support mission for the protection of civilians in the area.

Location of the commune of Diallassagou, in Mali.
Location of the commune of Diallassagou, in Mali. © RFI

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