- “Huts and crops were set alight, livestock was burned or taken away,” village chief Aly Ousmane Barry said.
- Authorities were accused of withdrawing the army from Ogossagu several hours before the bloody massacre.
- Malian army has lost dozens of soldiers during a series of jihad operations in recent months.
Thirty armed men stormed and sowed death overnight from Thursday to Friday in Ogossagou, killing 40 villagers, including nine soldiers, according to a new government report. In March 2019, some 160 Fulani people were killed in the same area, leaving several charred. Mali has been caught in a spiral of inter-communal and jihadist violence.
Part of the village was burned. A few hours later, nine people were killed in an ambush at a military unit in Bentia, in Central Gao, the government said in a statement. However, the statement did not indicate that eight of the victims were civilians. The news sources stated that a soldier was killed during a separate attack in Mondoro.
“Huts and crops were set alight, livestock was burned or taken away,” village chief Aly Ousmane Barry said.
The traditional Dogon hunters, already accused in 2019, were again set off by local officials in Ogossagou. The government and the army, which have undergone a series of jihadist attacks in recent months, have not identified the attackers in Bentia. Authorities were accused of withdrawing the army from Ogossagou several hours before the bloody massacre.
“The soldiers were told not to leave, but they left. This prompted the traditional hunters to return,” the local official said on condition of anonymity for security reasons. On March 23, 2019, 160 civilians were killed as a result of the attack on Ogossagou. Attributed to the Dogon hunters, this was the culmination of the intercommunal violence that occurred in the center.
This region has been in a whirlwind of violence since 2015 and the emergence of a jihadist group led by Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa. He had been widely recruited from his community, and joined the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM). This is the main jihadist alliance in the Sahel, associated with Al Qaeda, since its inception in 2017.
The number of clashes between the Fulani, mainly herders, and the Bambara and Dogon ethnic groups, which are mainly engaged in agriculture, has increased. The latter have created self-defense groups based on traditional dose hunters. The main Association of Dogon hunters, Dan Nan Ambassagu, was officially dissolved after the massacre at Ogossagou, but it never stopped. While the pace of major attacks has slowed, daily violence in the region has never stopped.
In addition to these public abuses and repressions, Mali is under the control of the jihadist push, which starts from the north, reached the center of the country and then spilled over into the neighbors of Burkina Faso and Niger. An explosion of common law crime and robbery was recorded in this spiral.
Since 2012, thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced as a result of violence. According to the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch, in 2019 alone, about 500 civilians were killed in the center, the deadliest year for civilians since 2012.
Meanwhile, the Malian army has lost dozens of soldiers during a series of jihad operations in recent months. Mali shifted its forces, and some civilians were forced to stand up for themselves. One of its camps, Mondoro, already attacked in September by this neighboring Boulkessi as a result of a double attack that killed 40 people, was attacked again on the night of Thursday to Friday.
On Wednesday, a Malian soldier was also killed during an attack by jihadists in Dialough, the army said. Five jihadists were also killed. The head of the UN Mission in Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said in a press release that the attack on Ogossagou occurred after the Malian army had just carried out an act of confirmation in the north.