Homeland Security Network Blog
Officials Say Suspected Jihadists Kill More Than 130 Civilians In Central Mali
Suspected Jihadists Kill More Than 130 Civilians In Central Mali, Officials Say
Suspected jihadists massacred more than 130 civilians over the weekend in neighbouring central Mali towns, the latest mass killings in the troubled Sahel region.
Local officials reported scenes of systematic killings by armed men in Diallassagou and two surrounding towns in the Bankass circle, a longtime hotbed of Sahelian violence.
"They have also been burning huts, houses, and stealing cattle -- it's really a free-for-all," said a local official who for security reasons spoke on the condition of anonymity.
He and another official, who like him had fled his village, said the death toll was still being counted on Monday.
Nouhoum Togo, a local official from Bankass, the main town in the area, said it was even higher than the 132 announced by the government, who have blamed al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists for the killings.
The national authorities broke their silence on Monday afternoon after alarming reports proliferated on social networks over the weekend.
Togo told AFP that army operations in the area two weeks ago had led to clashes with jihadists. On Friday, the jihadists returned on several dozen motorbikes to take revenge on the population, he added.
"They arrived and told the people, 'You are not Muslims' in Fulani, then took the men away, and a hundred people went with them," he said. "Some two kilometres away, they systematically shot people."
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