Dozens dead in latest round of Mali violence

Attacks on two villages in central Mali have left at least 38 people dead.

The victims are reportedly mostly from the Dogon ethnic group and Monday's attacks on Gangafani and Yoro appear to be the latest round of violence in a series of ethnic clashes.

A government statement quoted by the AFP news agency describes the incidents as "terrorist attacks".

Earlier this month, 35 people died when the Dogon village of Sobame Da was targeted.

In March, more than 130 Fulani people were killed in an attack on a village, also in central Mali, by armed men wearing traditional Dogon hunters' clothing.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has called for an end to the cycle of violence but people are now criticising his government for failing to stamp it out.

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Mali 'to disarm' carriers of illegal weapons

Mali's President Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta says his government will disarm all those who illegally possess weapons, and punish anybody who refuses to comply.

He made the pledge on a visit to the site of the Sobane Da massacre where 35 people were killed on Monday, 24 of whom were children. The death toll was initially reported as 95 but later reduced.

A similar pledge was made by Mali's government in March, but they have struggled to disarm militias.

Hundreds of people have been killed in violent clashes between Dogon hunters and Fulani herders since January, and there are several Islamist groups based in northern Mali from where they launch attacks.

Although an Islamist uprising was quashed with the help of troops supplied by Mali's neighbours and France in 2015, it nonetheless decreased government control and increased the availability of weapons.

A machine gun and an automatic rifle

Mali villagers found safe after fleeing attack

Louise Dewast

BBC Africa

A Koranic school in Mali
The 108 villagers are sheltering in a school (not pictured)

More than 100 people who fled an attack on a village in Mali on Monday have been found alive and safe, a local official has told the BBC.

Mayor Ali Dolo says that the group of 108 people are now being sheltered in a school.

They are from a village called Sobame Da, which is an ethnically Dogon community, where the federal government says 95 were killed in the attack by unknown gunmen and 19 others are missing.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is returning to the capital, after cutting short a visit to Switzerland.

Many houses were burnt down by the assailants and so identifying the victims has been a challenge for authorities.

There have been numerous attacks in Mali in recent months, some ethnically driven, some carried out by jihadist groups. For now the federal government says the perpetrators are suspected "terrorists".

Clashes between Dogon hunters and semi-nomadic Fulani herders are frequent.

The prime minister is on his way to Sobame Da and the justice minister announced they are opening an investigation.

The UN peacekeeping mission - which sent aerial support to the area - has also sent human rights investigators to assist authorities.

In March, nearly 160 people, mainly Fulanis, were killed in an attack by a suspected Dogon militia in the same region as Monday's attack.

UN to support Mali army to prevent more attacks

Louise Dewast

BBC Africa

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has sent aerial support to the area where nearly 100 people were killed so as to prevent a new attack.

A team of UN human rights investigators is also assisting Malian authorities in their investigation of the massacre.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has been attending a conference in Switzerland, says he is returning to the country on Tuesday.

The government says the perpetrators are suspected terrorists, but an official from the area said he believed members of the Fulani ethnic group were responsible for the attack on the Dogon village.

Members of both communities often clash over access to land and water, but the Dogons also accuse the Fulanis of having ties to extremist groups. Fulanis say that Dogon hunters form militias and attack them.

In March, the slaughter of more than 130 Fulani herdsmen in central Mali was blamed by some on the Dogons.

Intercommunal violence has increased in recent months and is compounded by the presence of armed groups with ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Last week, the UN warned about the risk of atrocities and called for a redeployment of its peacekeeping forces on the ground to central Mali.

Map showing location of Sobame Da

Mali president calls for unity in wake of massacre

Mali’s president, who is cutting short a trip to Switzerland following the massacre of about 100 people on Monday, has urged his Malians to come together.

Before leaving for home, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said the country's affairs could not be driven by a cycle of revenge and vendetta.

In a message shared on Twitter, he condemned the "barbarous act that nothing could justify" and called on people's sense of "responsibility and citizenship" in not taking the violence further.

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Mali attack is 'latest in a cascade of massacres'

An attack on a Dogon village has claimed around 100 lives
The president of Mali has cut short an official visit to Switzerland following the massacre of about one hundred people at a village in central Mali.

The attack on a Dogon village in the Mopti region of central Mali was carried out by members of the Fulani ethnic group, who have been in a tit-for-tat conflict with the Dogon community.    

The United Nations mission in Mali has sent aerial support to prevent a new attack, and has also sent a human rights team to investigate, alongside the government.

Corinne Dufka is the Sahel Director for Human Rights Watch.

(Photo: A Dogon village in Mali. Credit: Getty Images)

BreakingAbout 100 killed in central Mali

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Reports are coming in from Mali that at least 95 people have been killed in an attack in the central region.

Details are sketchy but the attack is said to have occurred in a village inhabited by members of the Dogon ethnic group.

There have been numerous attacks in Mali in recent months, some ethnic, some carried out by jihadist groups.