The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned the armed attack on the village of Ogossagou in Mopti, central Mali which left at least 134 people dead.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, in separate statements, also condemned the incident, sent their condolences and called on the Malian authorities to swiftly investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice.
1/2: J'ai appris avec horreur et indignation le massacre survenu dans les villages d'Ogossagou et Welingara dans le region de Mopti, au centre du #Mali, où au moins 135 civils, dont des femmes et enfants, ont été tués. Je condamne fermement cet acte ignoble
— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) March 24, 2019
The attack comes at a time when a UN mission is currently in Mali to try to find solutions to violence that killed hundreds of civilians in the past year and is spreading across West Africa’s Sahel region.
The UN integrated mission in the country (MINUSMA) said that a rapid response force had been deployed to the scene and it will be working to ensure the wounded are evacuated to the nearby town of Sévaré.
“This unspeakable tragedy…unfortunately reminds us that the challenges (in central Mali) are many,” Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Head of MINUSMA said at a press conference in the Malian capital, Bamako on Saturday.
Armed men, who were dressed as traditional Donzo hunters, encircled and attacked Ogossagou at about 4 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday.
An Ogossagou resident, who asked not to be identified, said the attack appeared to be in retaliation for an al Qaeda affiliate’s claim of responsibility for an attack on the camp of the Malian Armed Forces in the village of Dioura that killed several soldiers.
The Mopti region in central Mali has been plagued by deadly ethnic and jihadist violence since the start of the year.