Mali: At least 18 killed in clashes ahead of polls

29th Jul 2018
Mali: At least 18 killed in clashes ahead of polls

By Alaattin Dogru and Abdoulaye İbrahim Bachir

 

DAKAR (AA): At least 18 people have been killed in clashes in Mali’s central Mopti region, local media said Friday.

According to one report, 18 Fulani men were killed when fighting broke out between Dozos, or traditional hunters, and members of the Fulani ethnic group in the village of Somena.

Tensions are rising ahead of Sunday’s hotly disputed presidential election when voters will choose between 24 contenders, including incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who took office in 2013, and opposition frontrunner Soumaila Cisse.

Earlier this week, Cisse’s campaign team was attacked by gunmen in the northern city of Timbuktu.

According to local reports, cars, phones and personal belongings of Cisse’s team were damaged or stolen.

Violence in Mali

On July 17, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said at least 289 people were killed in some 99 incidents this year in Mali.

The statement also said that attacks were carried out by Dozos and ethnic Dogon militants against Fulani villagers.

Several terror groups are active in northern Mali, where French, Malian and UN peacekeepers are conducting counterterrorism operations.

Tensions erupted in Mali in 2012 following a failed coup and a Tuareg rebellion that ultimately allowed al-Qaeda-linked militant groups to take over the northern half of the country.

In 2015, a peace deal was signed between the government and some insurgent groups.

Political and community disputes continue to fuel tensions in northern Mali, undermining the implementation of the peace agreement.

[Map of Mali. Creative Commons]

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