by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

August 9, 2021

KAROU — 51 people were killed when Islamist militants raided three villages in central Mali near the border with Niger on Monday.

Around 6 p.m., Ouatagouna, Karou, and Deouteguef were all attacked at the same time.

according to a note from the Asongo district administrator to the governor of Gao region on Sunday.  The UN mission in Mali said it would deploy more troops to secure the areas where the attacks occurred and intensify existing patrols.  There have been reports of houses destroyed and livestock stolen.

Islamist groups linked to the Islamic State have been battling UN peacekeeping forces in the region.  Currently there are Malian and European forces on the ground supporting UN peacekeeping efforts.

According to a UN statement: “These deliberate attacks against civilian populations are serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law . . . they could be considered crimes against humanity.”

According to reports, Islamist militants positioned themselves at the towns’ entrances and fired indiscriminately on civilians.

According to the administrator, Malian troops are sweeping the area.

According to the note, he also requested a military escort to “assist with funerals, reassure the populations, and offer condolences to the bereaved families.”

Colonel Souleymane Dembele, Mali’s army spokesman, confirmed the attacks but provided no further details.  However, Malian troops are patrolling the zone in an effort to protect local residents.