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At least 32 civilians killed in attack on Mali village

Officials say the attacks were carried out by militants, who often say they are defending Fulani herders against rival Dogon farmers but no group has claimed responsibility.

At least 32 civilians killed in attack on Mali village www.africanstand.com
A general view shows the damage at the site of an attack on the Dogon village of Sobane Da, Mali, June 11, 2019.

At least 32 civilians have been killed when unidentified armed men on motorbikes attacked Dogon farming villages in Mali.

The attackers targeted four villages in Mopti region, which has seen dozens of tit-for-tat ethnic massacres as well as militant raids over the past few years, local authorities said.

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 militants, who often say they are defending Fulani herders against rival Dogon farmers.

“Quite a lot of armed men attacked the village (of Gouari), firing at people. Fifteen bodies were buried this morning. There are also wounded,” a local official said by phone earlier on Thursday, requesting anonymity for security reasons.

Near Burkina Faso border

No group has claimed responsibility for the violence, which took place in an area around 30 km (19 miles) from the border with Burkina Faso.

The army has been criticised by rights groups and residents for failing to protect civilians in central Mali.

Mali has been in crisis since 2012 when Al Qaeda-linked militants seized its desert north. French forces intervened the following year to drive them back, but militants linked to Al Qaeda and Daesh have since regrouped and extended their operations into Burkina Faso and Niger.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a consultancy that tracks political violence, says it recorded nearly 300 civilian fatalities in Mali in the first three months of 2020, a 90 percent increase over the previous quarter.

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