‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja

Daily Courier – More than 100 civilians have been killed in attacks by suspected armed rebels in central Mali, the government has said.

Members of the Katiba Macina armed group assaulted at least three villages in the rural commune of Bankass, in Mali’s central Mopti region, on the night between Saturday and Sunday, the government said in a statement on Monday.

At least 132 civilians were killed and some of the perpetrators have been identified, it added.

It said the civilians were “coldly killed by fighters of the Macina Katiba of Amadou Kouffa”, an organisation affiliated to al-Qaeda.

The killings took place in Diallassagou and two nearby villages, Diaweli and Dessagou, in central Mali, which has long been mired in insecurity.

“Investigators are on the spot today to find out exactly what happened,” Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of Bankass told The Associated Press news agency.

Mali and the central Sahel region have for months faced a string of civilian massacres blamed on armed groups.

The country has since 2012 been rocked by insecurity as groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) have attacked civilians, plunging the country into crisis.

Violence that began in the north has since spread to the centre and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in central Mali.

Source: Aljazeera English