MINUSMA, the United Nations mission in Mali, has confirmed that some 100 civilians including women and children were killed in the village of Sobanou-Kou in the Mopti region during an attack by armed men on Sunday night.
Witnesses and local officials say there are many wounded as well in this latest incident of escalating communal violence in the volatile Sahel nation. There were more than 100 such incidents reported last year, according to Human Rights Watch.
That’s continued in 2019, with more than 130 killed in a single March attack in Mopti attributed to the conflicts between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders who are often aligned – or accused of cooperating – with armed extremist groups operating in the region.
“I strongly condemn this act of unspeakable barbarity, as well as calls for violence. I call on the Malian authorities to quickly investigate this tragedy and bring its perpetrators to justice,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali and head of MINUSMA.
“This drama reminds us also and unfortunately that in this spiral of violence, there are not the bad guys on one side and the good guys on the other. Everyone is responsible,” he added.
Annadif was joined by UN Secretary General António Guterres in condemning the attack and expressing condolences to the victims. Guterres appealed to the Malian government to “engage in intercommunal dialogue to resolve tensions and differences.”
MINUSMA said it is supporting the Malian government led by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in preventing additional attacks and providing humanitarian aid to the Mopti community.
Keïta called the attacks barbaric and cowardly, and cut short an official trip to Switzerland to deal with the crisis.
Image: MINUSMA file