At least ten people were killed in a fresh militant attack in Gaberi, in the north of Mali, on Sunday, just two days after another attack at a hotel known for hosting UN personnel, resulting in the death of 12 people, some of which were foreigners.
The attack which took place just 160 km east of Timbuktu is thought to be carried out by armed militants of Tuareg, which is allegedly a retaliation for the murder of another Tuareg near the Niger River.
Residents say the attack began after three militants came to the village on motorbikes after which one of them was killed by armed villagers following an intense quarrel.
“The attackers came back this morning firing everywhere. There are nine or ten dead. People have deserted the village and set up camp around 4 km away,” said one of the residents adding that he doubted that the attack was carried out by Islamist militants.
Another resident said the attack seemed like it was initially a robbery attempt, but intensified when one of the attackers was killed.
Sunday’s attack came two days after the hotel siege in which 12 people were killed when militants attacked the hotel, in Sevare, 600km north of the country’s capital, Bamako.
Five Malian soldiers, three hotel workers, a UN contractor and three militants died during the attack.
Army spokesman Soyleymane Maiga said it is still unknown whether the hotel siege was connected to Sunday’s attack.
In recent months, attacks on UN peacekeepers and Malian army personnel have intensified in the West African country.
The UN brokered a peace agreement between Tuareg and the government.
Tuareg are a nomadic ethnic group believed to be related to the ethnic Berbers, about 1.2 million in population, and mostly live in the Sahara Desert. They have carried out frequent revolts against the Malian government.