It is the worst massacre committed by jihadists in the country since 2019. Some 132 civilians were killed in central Mali in attacks attributed to jihadists from the Katiba Macina, an al-Qaeda affiliated group, in the night from Saturday to Sunday, according to the Malian government, Monday June 20. The leader of the junta in power since August 2020, Colonel Assimi Goïta, has declared three days of national mourning.

The government has come out of silence as reports have proliferated since the weekend on social media. Local elected officials reported scenes of systematic massacres perpetrated by armed men in the center of the country, in Diallassagou and in two surrounding localities of the circle of Bankass. This area is one of the main centers of violence that has bloodied the Sahel for years.

More than 600 civilians killed in 2021

Nouhoum Togo, president of a party based in Bankass, told AFP that the number of victims could be even higher. According to the official, the area had been the scene two weeks ago of army operations which had given rise to clashes with the jihadists. The latter would have returned to several dozen on motorcycles, Friday according to him, for revenge.

Mali has been plunged into a deep security, political and humanitarian crisis since the outbreak of independence and jihadist insurgencies in 2012. A UN document published in March indicated that nearly 600 civilians had been killed in Mali in 2021 in violence , mainly attributed to jihadist groups, but also to self-defense militias and the armed forces.

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