Mali's government is upending its military after 134 were killed in attacks on three ethnic Fulani villages.
On Saturday, gunmen opened fire in central Mali, killing at least 134 people and injuring 55 others, the United Nations said after a peacekeeping mission to the area. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta quickly declared that "we are at war" — and removed his top military leaders in the process, the Africa Times reports.
The ethnic Dogan group is believed to be responsible for the massacre in the herding villages, France24 says. Mali Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga soon told a state broadcaster that the government had "ordered" a Dogan militia to "dissolve." He also said 11 top army leaders had been replaced. The same Dogan group has been suspected of killing 37 other Fulani people in a January attack, and the U.N. says conflicts between the two groups cost more than 500 lives last year. The two groups fight over grazing land and water, but jihadists have also spurred attacks in the region as they recruit Fulani followers.
Saturday's attack also came a week after 26 Malian soldiers were killed in an attack on a base near the middle of the country. The JNIM, which translates to Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, and which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group, claimed responsibility for that attack. The whole country of Mali has long struggled against extremist influences, though its people also claim hostility from Mali's own security forces. Read more at the Africa Times.