U.S. diplomacy “strongly condemns” the jihadist attack on a bus in central Mali that killed 31 people and injured 17, the State Department said Sunday.
The African government announced on Saturday that the attack took place on Friday near Bandiagara, in the Mopti area of central Mali.
Mali’s interim president, Colonel Asimi Goita, has declared three days of national mourning since Sunday. The flags will fly at half-mast in all public buildings.
In a statement broadcast on public television, the government stressed that “all measures are being taken to arrest and punish the perpetrators of this shameful and tragic act.”
The victims were on their way from a village in Songo to a market in Bandiagara when “terrorists” opened fire with machine guns on the bus, which then caught fire. According to a local elected official, “women and children” were among the victims. He also spoke about “missing persons”, without giving further details.
The Mopti area is the scene of a wave of violence in Mali, which authorities attribute to organizations that swear allegiance to either Al Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS).
No group has claimed responsibility for Friday night’s massacre.
A statement from US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States “strongly condemns the attack on civilians near … “They will continue to work with him in his quest for a secure, prosperous and democratic future.”
The activities of jihadist organizations have not stopped escalating across the Sahel – in Mali, in Burkina Faso, in Niger – in recent years, with thousands dead and millions internally displaced and refugees.
Since 2012, when a clash broke out between government forces on the one hand, separatist rebels and jihadists in the north on the other, Mali has entered and remains to this day an endless storm, despite the support of the international community and the intervention of UN forces. African countries, as well as France. The situation remains extremely dangerous in the country, something that the seizure of power by the military with the 2020 coup was anything but resolved.
In addition to jihadist violence, the Mopti region is also plagued by tensions between members of the Dogon tribe and members of the nomadic Pel tribe, due to differences over fields and pastures. Adding to the inter-tribal clashes is the violence of paramilitary “defense” organizations and gangs of criminals operating in Mali. The army is also accused of atrocities.
Source From: Capital