Mali vows to investigate after army accused of deadly village attack

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Coalition of the People of Azawad (CPA) fighters are seen holding weapons while sitting on a Land Cruise, while patrolling the area near the Mali-Mauritania border to protect local populations from insecurity.
Coalition of the People of Azawad (CPA) fighters are seen holding weapons while sitting on a Land Cruise, while patrolling the area near the Mali-Mauritania border to protect local populations from insecurity.
Souleymane Ag Anara, AFP
  • Mali promised to investigate the killing of civilians.
  • The attack targeted the village of Binedama in the volatile Mopti region.
  • The country is in the grip of a jihadist insurgency.


Mali on Saturday pledged to investigate claims that the army killed dozens of civilians in its conflict-riven centre, as complaints about the military's conduct in the West African nation escalate.

Some 30 people were killed and a village burnt in the region, officials said, but it was unclear who was behind the latest violence.

Friday's attack targeted a Fulani village named Binedama in the volatile Mopti region, said Aly Barry, an official from Tabital Pulaaku, a Fulani association.

READ | 26 killed in central Mali

The group released a statement later on Saturday saying that 29 people had died and called for an independent probe led by the United Nations.

Two other local officials confirmed the attack to AFP, but gave a lower death toll of 26, adding that the village was torched and its chief killed.

Mounting insecurity

An elected official from the area, who also declined to be named, said that "men dressed in Malian army fatigues" had carried out the raid.

He added that they had burned down buildings and killed the village chief.

The strike comes at a time of mounting insecurity in Mali, rising popular discontent with the government, and increasing reports of abuses committed by the country's armed forces.

As is common with many attacks in volatile and remote Sahel regions, it was not immediately clear who the perpetrators were. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Tabital Pulaaku, however, accused Malian soldiers of being responsible but AFP was unable to independently confirm this claim.

Malian Defence Minister Ibrahim Dahirou Dembele told AFP: "At this stage I can neither confirm nor deny anything".

He added, however, that military investigators would investigate the claims from next week.

Mali, a poor nation of some 19 million people, has been in the grips of a jihadist insurgency since 2012, when Islamist fighters commandeered an initially separatist rebellion by ethnic Tuaregs in the north.

The conflict - which has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians to date - has since spread to central Mali, as well as to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

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