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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Malian government says jihadist rebels killed 132 civilians over weekend

BAMAKO, Mali ( Associated Press) — Recent attacks by jihadist rebels in central Mali have claimed the lives of 132 civilians, the government said on Monday.

The killings came as several villages in the Bankas region came under attack on Saturday and Sunday, the government said in a statement on Monday.

The government said the attacks were carried out by jihadist rebels from the Katiba group.

The attacks were previously reported by Moulay Guindo, mayor of Bankassa, the largest city near the attacked villages.

The attacks show that the violence of Islamic extremism is spreading from northern Mali to more central areas such as Bankas.

READ MORE: Malian junta leader sworn in as president after second coup

For weeks, extremist rebels in central Mali have blocked the road between the northern city of Gao and Mopti in central Mali.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali released allegations of attacks on Twitter, he stated that he was concerned about “attacks on civilians in the Bandiagara region (a region of central Mali) perpetrated by extremist groups. These attacks reportedly resulted in casualties and population displacement.”

In a separate incident on Sunday, a UN peacekeeper died from wounds sustained by an improvised explosive device, the UN mission in Mali said in a statement.

The head of the UN mission in Mali, El Gassim Wane, said that since the beginning of 2022, uniformed UN peacekeepers have been killed in several attacks.

He said attacks on peacekeepers could constitute war crimes under international law and reaffirmed the mission’s commitment to maintaining peace and security in Mali.

Since the beginning of the year, several hundred civilians have died in attacks in central and northern Mali. The attacks are blamed on jihadist rebels as well as the Malian army, according to a report by the human rights division of the UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali began in 2013 after France launched a military intervention to drive out extremist rebels who had taken over towns and major cities in northern Mali a year earlier. The mission now has about 12,000 troops in Mali and an additional 2,000 police and other officers. More than 270 peacekeepers have died in Mali, officials say, making it the deadliest UN peacekeeping mission.

World Nation News Desk
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