Six die in Mali attacks as UN urges end to ‘spiral of violence’

Houses were burnt, the provisional death toll is four dead. In another village around Bankass, two women were also killed
This handout picture taken and released by the Malian presidential communication and public relations service (Cellule Communication et Relations Publiques de la Presdience du Mali) on March 25, 2019, shows Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (C) looking at destroyed houses following an attack on March 23, on the village of Ogassogou, near Mopti, where over 130 Fulani villagers, including women and children, were killed. – Survivors of the attack said ethnic Dogon hunters carried out the deadly raid in Ogossagou, a village in central Mali inhabited by the Fulani community. (Photo by Handout / MALIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / MALIAN PRESIDENCY” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Six people have been killed in attacks on villages of the Dogon ethnic community in central Mali, local officials and a security source said as the UN mission called for an end to the “spiral of violence” afflicting the region.

The attacks followed a deadly raid on Saturday in the village of Ogassogou, home to the Fulani herding community, near the town of Mopti. Some 160 people died in the assault, local officials and security sources said.

A militia from the Dogon ethnic group — a hunting and farming community with a long history of tension with the Fulani over access to land — is suspected to have carried out Saturday’s raid.

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“This spiral of violence must cease immediately,” the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said in a statement.

A local councillor in the area, Oumar Diallo, said the Dogon village of Ouadou was “attacked by armed men”.

“Houses were burnt, the provisional death toll is four dead. In another village around Bankass, two women were also killed,” he told AFP. 

A Malian security source confirmed the death toll, as did MINUSMA, which said the attack occurred on the night of Monday to Tuesday and added that “several houses were torched, cattle were stolen”.

The UN rights office in Geneva said earlier Tuesday it had sent a team of investigators to the region.

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Saturday’s raid was the deadliest attack in Mali since the 2013 French-led military intervention that drove back jihadist groups who had taken control of the north of the country.

Jihadist raids remain a persistent threat, and in the centre of the country, an ethnic mosaic, the attacks have had a bloody impact on groups with a history of rivalry.

The Fulani have been accused of supporting a jihadist preacher, Amadou Koufa, who rose to prominence in central Mali four years ago.

So-called self-defence groups have emerged in the Dogon community in the declared role of providing protection against the insurgents. 

But these militias have also used their status to attack the Fulani.

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Violence between the Fulani and Dogon and between the Fulani and Bambara ethnic group claimed some 500 civilian lives last year, according to UN figures.

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