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40 killed in restive Mali

Agence France-Presse

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Forty people, including nine soldiers, have been killed in a spate of attacks in central Mali, authorities said Friday, with most of the deaths caused by inter-ethnic violence in the deeply troubled region.

Thirty-one people were killed in an attack overnight in Ogossagou, a village mainly inhabited by Fulani people where 160 died last March in a massacre blamed on Dogon militiamen, the government said, raising the death toll.

About 30 gunmen carried out the new attack, village chief Aly Ousmane Barry told AFP. 

“Huts and crops were set alight, livestock was burned or taken away,” he added, vowing that the government would find the perpetrators.

A local government official, who requested anonymity, had earlier said that 28 people were missing.

He blamed the attack on a Dogon hunters’ group — an assertion that could be not be verified independently.

The official and village chief Aly Ousmane Barry both said the attackers moved in several hours after government troops had pulled out of the area.

Human Rights Watch this month pointed to the ethnic patchwork of central Mali as the country’s “epicentre” of violence.

It said over 450 civilians had been killed in the region in 2019, “the deadliest year for civilians” since the jihadist insurgency began.

Reflecting the chronic instability, Malian soldiers are themselves frequently targeted.

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