Mali

Nine Mali soldiers killed in ambush

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Suspected jihadists in Mali have ambushed and killed nine government soldiers a day after an attack in the same area left around 30 people dead.

A local mayor said the gunmen returned to the village of Gouari, in the centre of the country, attacking the troops and setting fire to military vehicles.

Mali's Mopti region has seen an increase in clashes between ethnic Fulani and Dogon communities as well as raids by Islamist militants.

The UN said last month that unrest in central Mali had killed nearly 600 civilians this year.

Gunmen on motorbikes in deadly Mali attack

Will Ross

Africa editor, BBC World Service

Map
BBC

At least 27 civilians have been killed in Mali's central region of Mopti, when gunmen on motorbikes attacked ethnic Dogon farming villages close to the border with Burkina Faso.

A Dogon ceremony
Getty Images
The Dogon people have lived in central Mali for centuries

It is not clear if Islamist militants carried out the attack, but eyewitnesses said the gunmen came from a neighbouring Fulani town.

Tit-for-tat attacks between the two communities have escalated over the last year fuelled by the perception that jihadist groups have sheltered in and have recruited from Fulani villages.

After briefly seizing the north of the country in 2012, jihadist groups have become increasingly active in central Mali, which has fuelled inter-communal violence.

Leaders meet to discuss Sahel crisis

BBC World Service

Map showing jihadist activity in west Africa
BBC

Leaders of five West African countries and President Emmanuel Macron of France have been meeting to review their efforts to intensify the fight against jihadist militants in the Sahel.

Arriving for the summit in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, Mr Macron praised what he called the real successes of recent months, which include the killing of a local militant leader.

Jihadist groups have become increasingly active in the Sahel region in recent years, despite the presence of French forces and UN peacekeepers.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in almost daily attacks across the region.

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Hundreds killed in Mali as security deteriorates - UN

Mary Harper

Africa editor, BBC World Service

A map of Mali showing the capital city, Bamako.
BBC

The United Nations' human rights chief says 580 civilians have been killed so far this year in central Mali.

Michelle Bachelet said the security situation was deteriorating, with multiple groups carrying out the killings.

The UN says ethnic militias originally formed to protect the Fulani and Dogon communities are killing people, stealing cattle, looting granaries and burning homes.

Some civilians are abducted and forced to join the militias.

Islamist movements linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are moving into central Mali, forced down from their bases in the north.

The UN accuses the Malian military of carrying out 130 extrajudicial killings, mainly targeting members of the Fulani community.

Violence is intensifying across the Sahel. There are fears that jihadist groups are moving southwards towards West Africa's coastal states.

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AU chief urges Mali rivals to 'work together'

Opposition supporters at Independence Square in Bamako, Mali June 19, 2020
Reuters
Thousands of people gathered in the capital for a mass rally last week

The chairman of the African Union commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has urged President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and opposition groups to work together to end the political crisis in the west African country.

Opposition groups are calling for President Keïta to resign because of escalating jihadist and inter-communal violence in the country.

The president had pledged to form a new government with opposition members.

The African Union chief, in a statement, praised the "peaceful character" of the protests and encouraged both government and opposition to "avoid the use of violence in any form".

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Sea of protesters demand Mali president steps down

Tens of thousands of people have once again gathered in Bamako's Independence square for the latest in a series of protests called by the influential and radical Imam, Mahmoud Dicko:

Protesters at Independence square
AFP
Protesters at Independence square
AFP
Protesters at Independence square
AFP

They are calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to resign because of escalating jihadist and inter-communal violence in the country.

A newly formed coalition of opposition groups, led by Mr Dicko, is calling for political and economic reform, and an end to corruption.

President Keïta pledged earlier this week to form a new unity government that would include members of the opposition.

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Mali leader agrees to meet opposition amid protests

BBC World Service

A Malian man gestures while attending a protest at the Independence square in Bamako on June 5, 2020.
Getty Images

The president of Mali has said he is prepared to hold talks with the opposition coalition, as he continues to face calls from his critics to resign.

Speaking on public television Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said his door was open, his hand was always extended and that he looked forward to meeting soon with members of the opposition movement.

Mr Keita, who came to power seven years ago, has been losing support over his handling of ethnic violence in Mali as well as a jihadist uprising which has affected large areas of the country.

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of people protested in Mali's capital to demand Mr Keita's departure.

This aerial view shows Malians gathering at the Independence square in Bamako on 5 June 2020.
Getty Images

More than 13,000 international troops are in Mali to help contain the violence.

Two UN peacekeepers were killed on Sunday in an attack on a convoy in the north of the country.

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