U.N. concerned about surge in violence in Mali’s Mopti region

Rupert Colville

The United Nations has expressed concern over the surge in violence perpetrated across communal lines in Central Mali.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, says the violence is spear-headed by extremist groups.

Last month at least 16 Fulani herders were killed in suspected ethnic clashes in the region.

“Since the beginning of the year, the human rights and protection division of MINUSMA, which is the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, has documented 99 incidents of inter-communal violence, resulting in at least 289 civilian deaths. 76 of these incidents, which is around 77% of the total, have occured in the Mopti region alone, and 49 of them just since the 1st of May, so the last ten weeks or so,” Colville said.

The war in Mali began in 2012 as different armed groups began fighting the government, seeking autonomy for the greater northern region. The war has killed thousands and displaced millions others, creating a humanitarian crisis in the West African country.

A U.N. expert earlier this month said that more than 4.1 million people in the country need food aid, with more than 250,000 suffering from acute malnutrition.