Jihadists killed 132 civilians in multiple attacks on villages in central Mali over the weekend, the government said on Monday, in the latest major incident in a worsening security situation.
Members of the Katiba Macina Islamist group assaulted at least three villages in the rural commune of Bankass, in Mali’s central Mopti region, on the night between Saturday and Sunday, the government said in a statement.
The cumulative death toll is 132 civilians and some of the perpetrators have been identified, it added.
Mali is struggling to stem an Islamist insurgency that took root after a 2012 coup and has since spread from the West African country’s arid north. Thousands have died and millions have been displaced across the Sahel region.
Some of the groups have links to al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The insurgency has also spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger despite international efforts led by France to quash it.
France in February said it would pull out troops deployed to Mali almost a decade ago after relations with a military junta that took power after a coup in August 2020 turned sour earlier this year.