On 23 March, attackers killed over 130 people in the central Malian villages of Ogossagou and Welingara, inhabited by members of the Peul ethnic group. The attackers were reportedly dressed as, and were most likely actual members of, the Dogon hunters’ association/militia Dan Na Ambassagou – although the group’s formal leader has denied his fighters’ involvement.
The massacre has elicited a tremendous amount of commentary, some of which I’ve rounded up here.
ACLED gives wider context about violence in the Sahel, providing key figures on casualties and trends.
Gregory Mann, at Africa Is a Country, explains and laments how the logic of the violence continues to unfold and escalate:
This—the militias, the murders, the indiscriminate score-settling that will be (and has already been) dubbed “ethnic violence”—is exactly what observers feared the most, seven years ago. This form of violence—and the army’s obvious failure to prevent it and potential complicity in it—is exactly the genie that won’t go back in the box. Who will forget the murdered village? It won’t be the end of the story, only the beginning. There will be revenge, and revenge for the revenge. Who wouldn’t, under these circumstances, create a self-defense militia? Why wouldn’t Bamana, Dogon, Minianka, Bwa look to the hunters, the donso? Why wouldn’t the Peuhl arm themselves, as they have done, as will everyone else? Reciting the holy trinity of conflict resolution—disarmament, demobilization, reintegration—sounds like so much whistling in the wind.
Gilles Yabi, at WATHI (French), puts the massacres in the wider context of abuses by both the militaries and community-based militias in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Dougoukolo Alpha Oumar Ba-Konaré, at The Conversation (French), reflects on the longer history of Peul-Dogon relations in Mopti.
At Liberation (French), a good interview with Yvan Guichaoua.
To prevent further escalation of violence, [United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama] Dieng urged the Malian Government – with the support of the international community, and the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MINUSMA – to immediately address the current grave upsurge of violence in central Mali and to provide, with no further delay, protection as well as assistance to vulnerable population.
“I call on the Malian government to urgently investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the recent attacks as well as those responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights.” he said, adding that the authorities and all Malians should “prevent and refrain from stigmatizing entire communities”.
MENASTREAM summarizes things bluntly:
As does Andrew Lebovich:
Aurelien Tobie reflects on the role of research and researchers before and after this tragedy:
Finally, it’s worth noting that protests have occurred over this incident – protests not just in Mali but also in the diaspora. For example, Malians demonstrated in front of the Malian embassy in Mauritania last week (Arabic).