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News > World

Gunmen Kill Over 40 Tuaregs in Ongoing Mali Violence

  • French forces has been occupying its former colony since 2013 in a bid to address the crisis.

    French forces has been occupying its former colony since 2013 in a bid to address the crisis. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 December 2018

The violence compounds an already dire security situation in the desert region used by jihadist groups to launch attacks in Mali and across West Africa.

Gunmen on motorbikes have killed more than 40 Tuareg civilians this week in north Mali, where clashes over land and scarce water are common, an official said on Thursday.

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The identity of the assailants was unknown, but disputes between the nomadic Tuareg and herder Fulani ethnic groups have killed several hundred and displaced thousands this year.

Menaka town mayor Nanout Kotia told Reuters 43 Tuareg died in a village 20 kilometers away over the past two days.

"Armed men riding motorbikes attacked several nomadic campsites in Tinabaw. They shot indiscriminately at the population," Kotia told Reuters, saying security forces had been sent to the area.

Mali's main Tuareg separatist group, the Coordination of Azawad Movements, said 47 Tuareg civilians were killed in the Tinabaw area. Nobody has claimed responsibility.

Armed men killed 15 Fulani civilians in Mali's central Mopti region earlier this month.

Mali has been in turmoil since Tuareg rebels and loosely allied Islamic state-affiliated groups took over its north in 2012, giving French forces a pretext for a military intervention and occupation in its former colony in 2013 that has not ended yet.

They have since regained a foothold in the north and center, tapping into ethnic rivalries to recruit new members.

On Friday, the French army announced they had "put out of action" some 30 militants, possibly including veteran Malian jihadist leader Amadou Koufa, during a raid in the central Mali region of Mopti.

The French army, which has about 4,500 troops in West Africa battling Islamist militants, did not specify whether the jihadists had all been killed or taken prisoner. The operation took place with air support on Thursday night, it said.

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