Conflicts & War

Militant attack leaves dozens of civilians dead in central Mali

Bamako, Dec 4 (EFE).- A militant attack in Central Mali has left at least 33 civilians dead, local sources said, in the latest strike by suspected Islamist insurgents in a region troubled by years of an ongoing armed conflict.

The attack took place on Friday in Mopti in the inner Niger Delta region of the landlocked West African nation.

The sources said that armed men opened fire on passenger vehicles on a highway that connects the cities of Bandiagara and Sevaré in central Mali.

The sources said most victims were women who were traveling to work as merchants at a local fair when militants fired on and burned the vehicles in which they were traveling.

They said that the suspected Islamist militants first killed the vehicle driver before setting the bus on fire and killing the people inside.

Women carrying babies, pregnant women, and elderlies were among the victims, said the sources, adding that the authorities have recovered at least 33 bodies from the attack site.

Residents in the neighboring towns and members of the Donzo militia, made up of traditional hunters of the Dogon ethnic group, lamented “the absence of the state” in the region that has been the epicenter of nearly a decade-long violence perpetrated by Islamist insurgents.

Several local sources told EFE that the gun and arson attack was “barbaric and cruel,” as some of the victims may have charred to death after suffering bullet injuries.

There was no immediate official communication from the transitional government about what happened.

Mali is battling a grave security situation and political instability, as Islamist groups have increased their attacks on the civilian population, the Malian Army, and foreign and United Nations peacekeepers.

The country has also suffered two coups d’état in less than a year, forcing a transition process that has not yet been completed, pending a general election. EFE


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