Armed groups have attacked villages in the Mopti region of central Mali, killing 132 people, the government said.
More than 100 civilians have been killed in attacks by suspected armed rebels in central Mali, the government said.
Members of the Katiba Macina armed group attacked at least three villages in the rural commune of Bankass in central Mali’s Mopti region between Saturday and Sunday night, the government said in a statement on Monday.
It added that at least 132 civilians were killed and some perpetrators have been identified.
It said civilians were “ruthlessly killed by fighters of Macina Katiba of the Al-Qaida-affiliated group Amadou Kouffa”.
The killings took place in Diyala Sagou, in central Mali, and two nearby villages, Diaveli and Desagou, which have long been mired in insecurity.
“Investigators were at the scene today to find out what really happened,” Bankas Mayor Muraye Kindo told The Associated Press.
Mali and the central Sahel have been facing A series of massacres of civilians Blame it on armed groups.
The country has been plagued by insecurity since 2012 as groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) plunged the country into crisis after attacks on civilians.
The violence that started in the north has spread to the centre and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
No immediate claim was made for the attack in central Mali.
For weeks, rebels in central Mali have been blocking the road between the northern city of Gao and Mopti in central Mali.
In a statement on Twitter about the attack, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali said it was “concerned by the attacks by extremist groups on civilians in the Bandiagara region (in central Mali). The attacks have reportedly resulted in casualties and displacement. .”
Attack on UN peacekeepers
In a separate incident, a UN peacekeeper died Sunday from injuries sustained by an improvised explosive device, the UN mission in Mali said in a statement.
El-Ghassim Wane, head of the UN delegation to Mali, said that since early 2022, Several attacks kill UN uniformed peacekeepers.
Attacking peacekeepers could constitute a war crime under international law, he said, and reiterated the mission’s commitment to supporting peace and security in Mali.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in attacks in central and northern Mali since the beginning of the year.
Armed rebels and the Malian army were blamed for the attacks, according to a report by the human rights arm of the United Nations Mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA.
United Nations peacekeeping in Mali began in 2013, when France led a military intervention to clear out rebels that had occupied northern Mali’s cities and major towns the previous year.
The mission now has some 12,000 soldiers in Mali, with an additional 2,000 police and other officials. Officials said more than 270 peacekeepers were killed in Mali, making it the deadliest United Nations peacekeeping operation.