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Almost 100 killed in Central Mali attack

According to local officials, at least 95 Fulani villagers have been killed in an attack on Sobane-Kou, by suspected ethnic Dogon villagers in central Mali, and 19 are reported missing.

The attackers also burned down houses and killed livestock. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet but there have been rising tensions between the Dogon and Fulani ethnic groups.

The village was home to around 300 inhabitants according to officials. Nicolas Haque, a reporter for Al Jazeera, has reported that Malian troops have been deployed to the village to try and “secure the area and to ensure there are no more attacks happening in the villages nearby".

The violence between the two ethnic groups has been exacerbated by the involvement of Islamic militant organisations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Dogan has accused the Fulanis of being connected with these militant organisations.

Clashes between the two groups have increased since a militant Islamist uprising in northern Mali in 2012.

Previously, disagreements between the Fulani and Dogon had often been settled through negotiation, but the uprising - which spread to the centre of Mali by 2015 - decreased government control and increased the availability of weapons.

The Fulani, a largely Muslim ethnic group, have been accused of having links with the Islamist uprising. But for their part, the Fulani accuse a Dogon self-defence association, Dan Na Ambassagou, of attacks on their villages.

On May 16, the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reported that there were “at least 488 deaths” in attacks against the Fulanis in the central areas of Mopti and Segou since January 2018. The armed Fulanis have caused 63 deaths in the Mopti area according to MINUSMA.

The highest death was recorded in March when 160 Fulani villagers were slaughtered at Ogossagou, near the border with Burkina Faso, by suspected Dogon hunters.

Read more here and here.