Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has announced three days of national mourning “in homage to the victims” of Sobane Da village massacre that left dozens of people dead. The Malian government on Wednesday sacked the governor of the central Mopti region where Monday’s “terrorist attack” against members of the ethnic Dogon group occurred.
“Drawing lessons from this tragedy, the cabinet had dismissed Mopti’s regional governor,” General Sidi Alassane Toure added in the statement.
Twenty-four of the dead were children, the government said earlier in a statement which added that six people had been detained “following routine checks”. Security forces have been deployed in the region, which has witnessed deadly violence in recent months between Dogon farmers and nomadic Fulani herders. Fresh fighting believed to be between the Fulani and Dogon ethnic groups risks plunging the country deeper into a cycle of intercommunal violence.
Gunmen on Wednesday targeted two ethnic Dogon villages in the Bankass district of the Mopti region, according to the mayor of the area. “Unidentified armed men on motorcycles are surrounding the village and firing at people,” Moulaye Guindo the mayor of the town of Bankass, told Reuters news agency via telephone, adding that the attack was still ongoing in the villages of Ogoboro and Nomopere Bomba. Guindo said there were people wounded who had been taken to a local hospital but had no information on the number of casualties. The attacks took place less than 50km away from the village of Sobane-Kou, the site of an hours-long deadly assault overnight on Sunday, which the United Nations condemned as an act of “unspeakable barbarity”.
Early estimates put the death toll in the attack on the largely ethnic Dogon enclave at 95, but Malian authorities on Wednesday revised the figure down to 35. But local leaders insisted that close to 100 were killed. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque, reporting from the Malian capital, Bamako, said he had also received reports of attacks on Fulani.
“Al Jazeera has spoken to some of the Dogon militias who are now attacking a Fulani village and also an area they say armed groups are in hiding – armed groups they are referring to as Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen (JMIN), a group that has called on Fulanis for revenge attacks against the Dogon community and also against any representative of the state,” he said.
The location and name of the Fulani village were not immediately clear.
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