Gunmen killed about 60 people in central Mali on Saturday, a local mayor said, in one of the deadliest such attacks in a region reeling from worsening ethnic and jihadist violence.
The assault on the village of Ogossagou came as a U.N. Security Council mission visited Mali to try to find solutions to violence that killed hundreds of civilians last year and is spreading across West Africa’s Sahel region.
Moulaye Guindo, mayor of the nearby town of Bankass, said the armed men, who were dressed as traditional Donzo hunters, encircled and attacked Ogossagou at about 4 a.m. (0400 GMT).
“It’s a very heavy death toll,” he told Reuters.
“The village of Ogossagou is completely devastated.”
One village resident, who asked not to be identified, said the attack appeared to be in retaliation for an al Qaeda affiliate’s claim of responsibility on Friday for a raid last week that killed 23 soldiers.
The group said the raid was payback for violence by Mali’s army and militiamen against the Fulani.
Jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have exploited ethnic rivalries in Mali and its neighbours Burkina Faso and Niger to boost recruitment and render vast swaths of territory virtually ungovernable.
Unidentified gunmen set ablaze NDLEA office in southeast Nigeria
UMUAHIA — An office of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was set ablaze on Tuesday by unidentified gunmen in Amaekpu Ohafia Abia State, in south-eastern Nigeria.
The incident occurred amid several reports of attacks on police facilities and government forces in the country.
No casualties were recorded in the attack suspected of being carried out by armed hoodlums, authorities said.
Meanwhile, residents told Gazette Africa that the attack lasted for about 30 minutes, forcing the officers to flee to safety.
Fulani herders kidnap students in southern Nigeria
An unknown number of students from Abia State University were kidnapped on Wednesday by gunmen suspected of being Fulani herders.
They were kidnapped along Okigwe-Uturu Road, on the border between Abia and Imo State, in the east of the country.
“Fulani herdsmen who wore military uniforms moved the students to Lokpa. No one knows if they are still alive or not,” a commercial driver told Gazette Africa.
Abia State Information Commissioner John Kalu, who confirmed the incident, said “the students were moving in a minivan from Okigwe to Uturu between 7 pm and 8 pm when they ran into the armed gang who marched them into the nearby forest along with other yet-to-be-identified travellers.
“Two of the students managed to escape from the hoodlums while others are still being held at a yet-to-be-identified location.”
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu, rights activist and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) condemned the kidnapping, calling it provocative and cowardly.
The head of IPOB ordered the Eastern Security Network (ESN), a regional non-state security force, to hunt the Fulani herders and rescue the kidnapped students.
Jihadists kill 31 soldiers in Northeast Nigeria
At least 31 Nigerian soldiers were killed when IS-aligned jihadists ambushed a military convoy escorting weapons and overran a base in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, military sources told AFP Monday.
Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), arriving in around 20 vehicles, attacked the convoy on Sunday in the town of Mainok outside the regional capital Maiduguri, killing troops and seizing weapons before storming a nearby base, the two sources said.
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