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07/08/2020 Mali (International Christian Concern) – At least 32 civilians were killed in central Mali when unidentified armed men on motorbikes attacked ethnic Dogon farming villages on Wednesday (July 1st). The attackers targeted four villages in Mopti region, which has seen dozens of tit-for-tat ethnic massacres as well as jihadist raids over the past few years. The mayor of the commune of Bankass, Moulaye Guindo released a list of victims on Thursday (July 2nd) that put the death toll at 32. Other officials in the area said “they believed the attacks were carried out by jihadists, who often say they are defending Fulani herders against rival Dogon farmers.”

On Thursday July 2nd a local official said, “Quite a lot of armed men attacked the village (of Gouari) firing at people, fifteen bodies were buried this morning.” 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. A spokesman for the Malian army could not be reached for comment. The army has been criticized 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 the Islamic State have since regrouped and extended their operations into Burkina Faso and Niger.

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