The International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has condemned the armed attack on the villages of Ogossagou and Welingara in Mopti, central Mali which left at least 134 people dead.
In a statement, Bensouda said her office had noted with grave concern the upsurge of violence in central Mali and called on all parties to refrain from resorting to violence.
Bensouda said her office will take necessary steps to bring to justice individuals who were behind the heinous attack in which women and children were also reportedly targeted.
“In complementarity with the national criminal justice system in Mali, my Office will take all necessary steps to ensure the investigation and prosecution of those who participated in or otherwise contributed to what appears to be egregious crimes which may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,” the statement read in part.
Bensouda further said that a delegation from the prosecutor’s office will meet with the relevant authorities on the matter this week and the prosecutor’s office will continue to closely follow events in Central Mali and in other parts of the country.
Armed men, who were dressed as traditional Donzo hunters, encircled and attacked the villages of Ogossagou and Welingara at about 4 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday, March 23 killing and injuring several people.
Mali’s President Ibrahim Keita has since sacked and replaced two generals and disbanded an anti-jihadi vigilante group in response to the attack which has left Malians frustrated by the failure of government forces to protect them from both jihadist onslaughts and ethnic reprisals.
The Mopti region in central Mali has been plagued by deadly ethnic and jihadist violence since the start of the year.