Home WorldAfrica 132 civilians killed by rebel attacks in central Mali, says government

132 civilians killed by rebel attacks in central Mali, says government

by YAR

BAMAKO, Mali — Attacks by jihadist rebels over the weekend in the West African nation of Mali have killed 132 civilians, the government said Monday.

The killings occurred when several villages near Bankass in central Mali came under attack, the government said in a statement. The attacks suggest that Islamic extremist violence is spreading from northern Mali to more central areas such as Bankass.

Three days of national mourning, starting Tuesday, have been declared by the head of the ruling junta, Colonel Assimi Goita.

In a separate incident, a member of the United Nations peacekeeping force died on Sunday from injuries sustained after the detonation of an explosive device, the UN mission in Mali said in a statement.

Since the beginning of the year, several hundred civilians have been killed in attacks in central and northern Mali. The attacks have been attributed to jihadist rebels, as well as the Malian army.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali began in 2013, after France led a military intervention to drive out extremist rebels who had seized major cities and towns in northern Mali the previous year.

The mission now has approximately 12,000 soldiers in Mali and another 2,000 police and other officers. More than 270 peacekeepers have been killed in Mali, making it the deadliest UN peacekeeping mission, officials say.

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