Over the weekend, a total of seventeen individuals, including five traditional hunters, lost their lives in the Bandiagara region of central Mali due to two attacks believed to be orchestrated by “terrorist” groups, as stated by the governor of the region in a release on Monday.
On Saturday, the initial assault occurred in the village of Bodio, resulting in the death of fifteen individuals, including three traditional Dozo hunters, and leaving two others injured.
And on Sunday, a motorbike carrying two hunters struck a mine near the village, leading to their immediate fatalities, according to the statement.
The wave of jihadist violence that originated in northern Mali in 2012 extended to the central region of the country by 2015. During this time, Katiba Macina, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group, emerged under the leadership of Fulani preacher Amadou Kouffa.
In response, several armed groups have been established.
The most well-known group is the Dogon militia Dan Nan Ambassagou, comprised of traditional hunters similar to those who lost their lives in the recent attacks.
Last Thursday, a group of Malian soldiers fell victim to an ambush carried out by militants linked to the Islamic State group.
The assault occurred in Mali’s northeastern vicinity, close to the Menaka region.
They were providing security for trucks heading towards neighboring Niger, as indicated by military and police sources.
Niger has also been grappling with jihadist activity, and on July 26, the country experienced a military coup.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS) has been steadily expanding its presence in the Menaka region for several months.
A recent report by Human Rights Watch indicates that attacks by this group have resulted in the loss of “hundreds” of lives and led to the displacement of thousands of individuals since the beginning of the year.
Mali is currently under the leadership of a junta that took control in 2020. This junta has shifted its focus away from its former colonial power, France, and has established closer ties with Russia, both in terms of politics and military cooperation.