Unidentified gunmen attacked two villages in the Bankass cercle (Mopti region) on Saturday, March 23, killing at least 132 people from the Fulani ethnic community. The first attack occurred at approximately 04:00 (local time) in the village of Ogossagou. Later in the day, the Fulani village of Welingara was also assaulted. According to the mayor of Bankass, the assailants were dressed as members of a Dogon self-defense group. An investigation into the attacks is ongoing. Further violence and retaliatory attacks are possible in the area in the near term.
Due to the presence of various armed groups, Mali's northern and central regions remain unstable despite the presence of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), one of the largest UN peacekeeping missions in the world. Since 2013, some 170 peacekeepers have been killed in Mali.
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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