About a dozen Fulani herders have been killed in the town of Ouenkoro in Mali in recent days, local authorities said on Thursday, November 22, accusing members of the Dogon hunter community.
The claims come a day after a Dogon-linked armed group said it had pulled out of a month-old ceasefire with the Fulani, saying it needed to protect its own.
Since the 2015 emergence of a jihadist movement led by Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa in central Mali, disputes have regularly turned violent between the nomadic herders and Dogon farmers.
The violence is often sparked by accusations of Fulani grazing cattle on Dogon land, and disputes over access to land and water.
Fulanis claim that Malian authorities and army troops turn a blind eye to Dogon attacks, in the name of the fight against jihadists.
“In my town of Ouenkoro, yesterday [Wednesday], nine Fulani civilians were killed by Dogon hunters who said they had broken the ceasefire,” said Cheick Harouna Sankare, the mayor of the town near the border with Burkina Faso to the south.
“The day before yesterday, another three Fulani civilians were killed,” he told AFP.
Another local representative, who did not wish to be named, confirmed the deaths of nine civilians in Ouenkoro.
A bit further north, attacks attributed to Dogon hunters have targeted the Fulani-majority town of Djabel in recent days, with the village chief killed at a fair on Tuesday, a town official said.
Dogon armed group rejects ceasefire
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Dogon-linked armed group Dan Nan Ambassagou said they had rejected a recent ceasefire with Fulani herders in central Mali, arguing they need to protect fellow tribe members after several were killed by Mali army troops.
The group only committed to the ceasefire on October 2 after the prime minister chaired inter-community talks.
“We broke the ceasefire several days ago,” said Moussa Togoun, an aid to the head of Dan Nan Ambassagou.
“Fulani terrorists are slaughtering our unarmed Dogon relatives. It’s over, we are resuming our protection of the population,” Moussa Togoun added in a telephone call with AFP.
On November 18, several members of the group died in clashes with army troops in Koromatintin, central Mali.
The breaking of the ceasefire dashes hopes of improved security in the restive region.
But a leader of Dan Nan Ambassagou’s political wing, David Tembine, disavowed the decision to break the ceasefire.
“If our fighters witness violence by Fulani terrorists or others on the ground, they must call it to the army’s attention,” Tembine told AFP.
With reporting from AFP