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Dozens of civilians killed as Daesh, Al Qaeda militants clash in Mali

  • 8 Dec 2022

Malian authorities say at least 100 people have been killed in several days of fighting over territory between Daesh and local Al Qaeda in the east of the country.

Mali has faced instability since 2012 when militants hijacked a Tuareg rebellion in the north. ( Joe Penney / File / Reuters Archive )

Dozens of civilians have been killed over several days of heavy fighting between rival terrorist organisations in Mali's restive east, local government officials have said.

Hundreds of civilians have also been displaced as terrorists linked to Daesh have been clashing with local Al Qaeda affiliates over territory in the regions of Gao and Menaka, authorities said on Thursday.

"Battles resumed mainly in Ansongo [Gao region] and other districts... There are deaths, many deaths," Bajan Ag Hamatou, a former MP who is now a member of the transitional council set up after the military seized power in a 2020 coup.

At least 100 people have been killed, 40 of them in Ansongo two days ago, Hamatou said.

Menaka mayor Nanout Kotia confirmed via telephone that fighting had resumed, but did not give a death toll.

READ MORE: Mali bans French-backed NGOs' activities — govt

Ongoing clashes

Fahad Ag Almahmoud, head of a pro-government militia, said on Twitter that between 200 and 300 civilians were massacred on December 4.

Reuters was not able to confirm the accounts of fighting or the figures independently.

The mayor of the rural commune of N'Tillit in Gao asked authorities to help with 583 households displaced by "deadly fighting" on December 3, in a letter seen by Reuters.

Insurgents have been waging offensives in the Gao and Menaka regions over the past decade.

Militants have been advancing in the east since France and several other European nations decided to pull their troops following disagreements with the military government.

Particularly violent clashes broke out this week, exacerbating a conflict that has already killed thousands and displaced more than 2.7 million across the Sahel, according to the United Nations.

Mali has faced instability since 2012, when militants hijacked a Tuareg rebellion in the north.

France intervened to help push them out in 2013, but the militants have since regrouped and spread across the Sahel and further south towards coastal West African states.

Several European and African nations announced they would withdraw troops from Mali this year, accusing the junta of collaborating with Russian mercenaries — an accusation both Russia and the junta deny.

READ MORE: Armed men kill several civilians in raid on Mali camp

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