Scores killed in attack on central Mali village

At Least 95 Malians Killed in Massacre on Dogon Village

Ninety-five people in a central Malian village inhabited by the Dogon community were killed by gunmen in an overnight attack, a local official and a security source said Monday, giving a provisional toll.

Young Fulanis listen to a declaration during a demonstration in Bamako on March 15, 2018 organized by the Jeunesse Tabital Pulaaku-Mali, the youth chapter of an organization dedicated to preserving the rights of Mali's Fulani people, who have become victims of retaliatory violence after being accused of attacks against farmers in central Nigeria's Plateau state. The extremists have infiltrated communities much further south in recent years, stoking animosity between ethnic groups in the more populated region.

Tensions have been especially high in the region since a Dogon militia was accused of massacring around 157 residents of a Fulani village in March.

Nineteen others were missing since unknown armed men attacked the village of Sobane-Kou in the Mopti region in the early hours of Monday, the government said in a statement.

Intercommunal violence has risen steadily in central Mali over the last several years, exacerbated by the presence of Islamic extremists who have moved south from their strongholds in the arid north.

Some Peuhl leaders had vowed to carry out reprisals for the March bloodshed. The village is in the commune of Sangha, the heart of the Dogon militia blamed for the March attack that has been the deadliest so far. "They first surrounded the village and then attacked - anyone who tried to escape was killed". "It shows a total and utter contempt for human life", Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, Amnesty International's west and central Africa director, said in a statement about Sunday's attack.

The local official said the village had a population of about 300.

The Fulani, in their turn, suspect the Dogons of having close ties with Mali's military.

"No-one was spared-women, children, elderly people", he added.

The UN has described it as "an act of unspeakable barbarism".

"The availability of weapons of war and the pretext of fighting jihadist groups have opened the floodgates to a level of ethnic-based violence that is without precedent in the region", he said.

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque, reporting from Dakar in neighbouring Senegal, said Malian troops were deployed at the village "trying to secure the area and to ensure there are no more attacks happening in the villages nearby".

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