Two attacks carried out by suspected militants linked to the Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda in Mali killed at least 64 people on Thursday (7), including dozens of civilians, the African country’s transitional government said.
The attacks targeted a passenger boat on the Niger River near Timbuktu and a military base in Bamba in the northern Gao region, killing 49 civilians and 15 soldiers, according to a government statement.
It was not possible to know how many people died in each attack.
The Malian Army declared that an “armed terrorist group” attacked the passenger boat at 11 am (local) near Rharous Cercle in the Timbuktu region.
The attacks were claimed by the Al Qaeda-affiliated Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the government said.
Authorities declared three days of mourning in the country, which has seen an escalation of violence following two military coups in the past three years.
Mali is part of the Sahara-Sahel region and is one of several African countries fighting Islamic insurgents.
The United Nations said in June that “endless” violence was being unleashed against civilians in northeastern Mali by the Islamic State group (Isis) and its affiliates.
Experts have expressed widespread concern about worsening conditions in the troubled Sahel state.
“In less than a year, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara almost doubled its areas of control in Mali”, points out a UN Security Council report released in August.
The UN also expressed concern about human rights abuses committed by Mali’s armed forces and “its foreign security partners”.
Hundreds of Russian mercenaries hired by the Wagner mercenary group were invited to Mali by the country’s military junta to fight Islamists. It is unclear what has happened to them since the death of the organization’s head, Yevgeny Prighozin.
“Violence against women and girls and conflict-related sexual violence continue to prevail in Mali,” UN experts said in the report.
In June, Mali asked the UN peacekeeping force, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which has been stationed in the country since 2013, to leave the nation “immediately.” ”.
Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop accused the UN of worsening security problems in the country.
Almost 9 million people need humanitarian assistance in the country. Earlier this month, UN agencies said 200,000 children were at risk of starving to death.
“A series of protracted armed conflicts, internal displacement and limited humanitarian access threaten to plunge almost a million children under five into acute malnutrition by the end of this year if vital aid does not reach them,” the UN said.
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Source: CNN Brasil
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