40 people killed in separate attacks in central Mali

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FILE: Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita inspects the damage after an attack by gunmen on Fulani herders in Ogossagou, Mali March 25, 2019. Picture taken March 25, 2019. Malian Presidency/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
FILE PHOTO: Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita inspects the damage after an attack by gunmen on Fulani herders in Ogossagou, Mali March 25, 2019. Picture taken March 25, 2019. Malian Presidency/Handout via Reuters

Gunmen killed 31 people in the Ogossagou village, mainly inhabited by the Fulani community, in central Mali on Friday night, according to the government.

The village chief, Aly Ousmane Barry, said the attack occurred hours after government soldiers left the area and was carried out by about 30 people.

“Huts and crops were set alight, livestock was burned or taken away,” Barry told AFP.

A local government official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said that at least 28 other people were reported missing following the attack, which he blamed on the Dogon hunters’ group.

Ogossagou village, near the border with Burkina Faso, is the same one in which 160 people were killed in March last year by suspected Dogon militia.

Later on Friday, eight Malian soldiers were killed and four others injured following an ambush in Bintia village in the central Gao region, the army said.

The army confirmed that it suffered “material damage” but did not accuse any group for the attack.

Elsewhere, security officials said one Malian soldier was killed following a raid on a military camp in Mondoro, in central Mali.

Central Mali has been plagued by deadly ethnic and jihadist violence since 2012 when a revolt broke out leaving thousands of people dead and thousands of others displaced.

Retaliatory attacks in the region spiked since the Fulani community was linked with jihadists prompting other communities, such as the Dogon and Bambara, to form self-defence groups.

In April last year, the then Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and the cabinet resigned following a motion of no confidence in the government over its handling of violence in the centre of the country.

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