Small Wars Journal

Radical Islamists Have Opened a New Front in Mali

Radical Islamists Have Opened a New Front in Mali by James Blake - Foreign Policy

On Saturday, 100 armed men dressed as ethnic Dogon hunters stormed the village of Ogossagou in central Mali. They killed more than 160 ethnic Fulani civilians, including children and pregnant women, and burned many homes to the ground. Reporting is scarce, but it seems that attackers also struck the neighboring town of Welingara, which is also Fulani-majority. The Mali government blamed a Dogon self-defense group called Dan Na Ambassagou for the incident. The group denies involvement.

The attack is not a one-off incident. Rather, it is the latest and most deadly episode in a campaign of systematic violence against Fulani herders, who are being forced to flee their land. On January 1, for example, assailants struck the village of Koulogon, killing 37 people from the Fulani community. The thousands of international troops in the country—including from the G5 Sahel counterterrorism force (comprising Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), from France, and from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilized Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)—need to act now to prevent further incidents of ethnic cleansing, retaliatory attacks, and the targeting of vulnerable communities…

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