An Islamic State-linked group killed around 40 civilians this week in a northern region of Mali that has been plagued by clashes between rival jihadist groups.
“There are at least 40 civilian deaths in three different sites” in the Tessit area near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger, a civilian official in the area said.
The official, whose name was withheld for security reasons, said that the death toll was still provisional because the information was patchy and coming in slowly from the remote and dangerous area, where witnesses had scattered.
“These civilians have been accused by one (jihadist) group of complicity with the other group,” the official said.
Two Tessit residents based in the regional capital Gao and national capital Bamako, whose names were also withheld, confirmed to AFP the scale of the violence after speaking with witnesses who had fled.
Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, a spokesman for a group of armed northern militias, reported a similar death toll.
The latest bloodshed took place in the “three borders” area, a hotspot of violence in the jihadist insurgency that first emerged in the Sahel country in 2013, before spreading to Burkina Faso and Niger.