Armed men carried out several attacks against the village of Ouenkoro (Mopti region) November 16-22, killing at least 12 people. The Dana Ambassagou self-defense group, mostly made up of people from the Dogon ethnic community and who target members of the Fulani community, are suspected of carrying out the attacks. Further such attacks are likely in the short-to medium-term in the region.
According to a report released in mid-November by the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), central Mali has become the most dangerous area of the country, with at least 40 percent of attacks reported there. At least 1200 people have been killed and 3000 others displaced since 2016. This includes at least 500 people killed between January and August 2018 in ethnic violence. The report also accused the army of being responsible for at least 20 percent of the human rights violations perpetrated in the region, including extra-judicial killings (67 between February and July 2018).
The Dongo Dana Ambassagou self-defense groups had agreed to a ceasefire in October. However, the armed branch of the group seems willing to break the ceasefire to counter recurrent attacks by Fulani community members.
Acts of retaliation by terrorist groups against civilians in central Mali are also common. Several armed groups also operate in the region - including the Macina militant group, under the Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) umbrella (affiliated with Al-Qa'ida), and the Islamic State - as well as pro-government militias.
The security environment in Mali remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
Due to the underlying terrorist and kidnapping threats prevalent in the country, all those present in Mali are advised to remain discreet regarding personal details, particularly information concerning nationality, employment, family, etc. Individuals are also advised to avoid public events and places frequented by Westerners, to remain vigilant at all times (especially in local markets, now used by terrorists as recruitment grounds), and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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