Vigilante groups form in central Mali amid ethnic violence

2018-05-24 19:25


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Two armed groups have formed in central Mali on either side of an ethnic rift that has caused violence to flare, their leaders told AFP on Thursday.

Over the past three years, nomadic Fulani people and farmers from the Dogon ethnic group have engaged in tit-for-tat violence, partly rooted in a dispute over cattle grazing.

"We have the numbers that it takes to defend our parents against the militias, notably the Fulanis, who attack them," said David Tembine, the leader of a Dogon vigilante group.

It calls itself Dana Amassagou, "which means 'The Hunters Who Confide in God'," Tembine said.

Separately, an organisation calling itself the Alliance for the Salvation of the Sahel has also formed to protect Fulani civilians from both Mali and neighbouring Burkina Faso "against abuses", Yessouf Diallo, one of the group's leaders, told AFP.

Central Mali is a vast area where the state is near-absent and jihadists, blamed for exacerbating the squabble, roam with little constraint.

In its latest quarterly report on Mali, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said protection of civilians in the region has "further deteriorated".

Jihadist groups have "exacerbated" the violence between the two communities, causing an unprecedented number of civilian causalities in their operations targeting Malian and foreign forces, the report added.

The Fulani community routinely accuses the authorities of tolerating, or even encouraging, abuses against them by hunter groups as part of their fight against jihadists, which the government denies.

The unrest in the former French colony stems from a 2012 Tuareg separatist uprising against the state, which was exploited by jihadists in order to take over key cities in the north.

Although French forces removed the Al-Qaeda-linked groups from places such as Timbuktu, the insurgents have morphed into nimbler formations operating in rural areas, sometimes winning over local populations by providing basic services and protection from bandits.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.