Sunday, August 7, 2022

Survivors recount Mali’s deadliest attack since coup

Moussa Tolofidie did not think twice when nearly 100 jihadis on motorcycles gathered in his village in central Mali last week.

A peace agreement signed last year between some armed groups and the community in the Bankass area lasted largely, even though the armed men would sometimes enter the town to proclaim Sharia to the villagers. But on this Sunday in June, everything changed – the jihadis started killing people.

“They started with an old man about 100 years old … then the sounds of the weapons around me started to intensify and then at one moment I heard a bullet whistling behind my ear. I felt the earth turn “I lost consciousness and fell to the ground,” Tolofidie, a 28-year-old farmer, told The Associated Press on Friday in the town of Mopti, where he was receiving medical care.

“When I woke up, it was dark, around midnight,” he said. “There were bodies of other people on top of me. I smelled blood and smelled burnt stuff and heard the sounds of some people still moaning.”

Two days of attacks

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At least 132 people were killed last weekend in several villages in the Bankass area of ​​central Mali during two days of attacks, according to the government, which blames the group for supporting Islam and Muslim jihadi rebels linked to al-Qaeda.

The attack – the deadliest since mutinating soldiers overthrew President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita nearly two years ago – shows that Islamic extremist violence is spreading from Mali’s north to more central areas, analysts said.

The conflict-ridden country has been fighting extremist violence for a decade since jihadists took control of key northern cities in 2012 and tried to take over the capital. They were repulsed by a French-led military operation the following year, but have since regained ground.

The Associated Press on Friday spoke to several survivors who were seeking treatment at a hospital in Mopti and were from the towns of Diallassagou, Dianweli and Dessagou. People described how they heard gunfire and jihadis shouting, “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” as they ran into the forest to save their lives.

Mali’s government blames the attacks on the Group to support Islam and Muslims, or JNIM, which is backed by al-Qaeda, although the group denied responsibility in a statement on Friday.

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UN says violence has displaced population

The United States and France condemned the attacks and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) issued a statement on Twitter saying the violence had caused casualties and displaced the population.

Conflict analysts say the fact that the attacks took place in an area where local peace agreements have been signed may indicate the end of the fragile agreements.

“The resurgence of tensions may be linked to the expiration of these local agreements, but may also be linked to the intensification of military operations by the military,” said Baba Dakono, director of the Citizen Observatory on Governance and Security, a local civilian. society. group.

One Damango, a mechanic from Dialassagou, fled his village when the shooting began, but said his uncle had been shot in the leg and seriously injured.

“When I returned to town. I discovered the carnage.”

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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