Mali: Suspected terrorists kill 51 civilians in N Mali
By James Tasamba and Fatma Esma Arslan
KIGALI, Rwanda /DAKAR, Senegal (AA): More than 51 people were killed over the weekend when armed assailants launched three simultaneous attacks in areas of northern Mali near the border with Niger, authorities said Monday.
“More than 40 civilians were killed by terrorists on Sunday in the villages of Karou, Ouatagouna and Daoutegeft,” an official of Ansongo prefecture told local media.
The suspected terrorists, who were riding motorbikes, also stole cattle and burned houses, the report said.
Some 20 civilians were massacred in Karou, 14 in Ouatagouna and others were killed in Daoutegeft, it said.
A Malian army patrol was sent to the affected communities on Monday. The death toll confirmed by the patrol was at least 51, according to Reuters.
“Provisional toll is 51 killed, several others injured,” read a note from the local district administrator to the Gao regional government in south-east Mali.
Another local official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity said “20 civilians were massacred in Karou. Fourteen civilians were killed in Ouatagouna, and other civilians were killed in the hamlet of Daoutegeft.”
Mali’s Interim President Col. Assimi Goita strongly condemned the deadly terrorist attacks in a Twitter post late Monday.
Mali declared three days of national mourning in memory of the 48 victims who died in the terrorist attacks, Goita said on Twitter.
The Malian army launched an operation in the region to neutralize those responsible, Goita noted.
He stressed that the Malian people should show more determination than ever before in the country’s fight against terrorism.
Goita, 38, seized power from transitional President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane in May, in a country battling a challenge by Islamic insurgents.
He earlier pledged to hold elections next February.
Mali has been battling an insurgency linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group since 2012, when the unrest started in the north of the West African country. The violence, which has killed thousands of civilians and troops, has since spread to neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz
Additional report from Agencies
[Map of Mali by the UN/Public Domain//Commons Wikimedia]
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