Gunmen suspected to be jihadists have massacred more than 130 civilians in several communities in Mali in a weekend of bloody orgy, the West African military authorities said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government announced the deaths as several local officials described scenes of systematic killings by armed men in Diallassagou and two surrounding towns in the Bankass circle which is a hotbed of militant violence in the country.
Mass burning of houses, looting and abductions were also reported on social media which also drew the attention of the international community.
A resident of Diallassagou who gave his name as Nouhoum Togo, told officials that he managed to escape the carnage while many were not as lucky.
“They came, they said to the people ‘you are not Muslims’ in the Fulani language, they said ‘you are not Muslims’. So they took the men, a hundred people went out with them, at 2 km they systematically shot people.
“They left with others, the next day we discovered the mutilated bodies”, Togo who is the President of the USR Party and friend to many of the victims said.
Mali has witnessed incidents of jihadist attacks since 2012 and has been rocked by insurgency by groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, plunging the country into crisis.
Violence that began in the north has since spread to the centre and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, with civilians often subjected to reprisals by jihadists who accuse them of collaborating with the enemy.
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