Almost 100 killed in Mali village attack, official says

At least 95 people were killed in a central Mali village on Sunday the government said

At least 95 people were killed in an overnight attack on an ethnic Dogon village in central Mali, local officials said on Monday, the latest bout of ethnic violence fuelling the country's security crisis.

The latest violence follows a March ambush that killed more than 150 Fulani people in the same region, stoking concerns that the ambush was motivated by revenge.

French forces intervened in Mali, a former French colony, in 2013 to push back an extremist advance from the desert north, but the terrorists have since regrouped and expanded their presence into central Mali and the neighboring countries.

The killings highlight the Malian security forces' inability to contain the spreading extremism by fighters linked to the Islamic State organization and al-Qaida and the growing danger of frightened communities arming themselves.

The Malian government meanwhile expressed its condolences and said "every measure will be taken to arrest and punish those responsible for this bloodshed". It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack.

Sunday's raid took place in the Sangha district, where Fulanis from the neighbouring Bankass district descended on a Dogon village after dark, Bankass Mayor Moulaye Guindo told Reuters.

On Monday a prominent group representing the Peuhl community, Tabital Pulaaku, issued a statement blaming the "cycle of violence" on the absence of state authority and impunity for perpetrators of attacks.


Togo added: "We have counted 95 dead and 38 wounded, with about 20 listed as missing".

In turn, the Peuhl have alleged that the Dogons are collaborating with Mali's military, though there is no conclusive sign of state support.

"Armed men, apparently Fulanis, fired at the population and burned the village", said Siriam Kanoute, an official for the nearby town of Bandiagara. Human Rights Watch says the Dan Na Ambassagou militia has been behind violence that resulted in much higher death tolls. "No one was spared - women, children, elderly people".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was outraged by the attack and called on all parties in Mali to "show restraint and to refrain from retaliatory acts", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

There are several Islamist groups based in northern Mali.

Associated Press Writer Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, contributed this report.

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