Mali: armed group kills at least 40 at wedding ceremony amid escalating violence

Dozens of guests at a wedding ceremony have been killed by a group of unidentified armed men in an attack on a village in central Mali that has been struggling with violence from extremist groups for over a decade.

Unidentified armed men cut throats of approximately 40 people in an attack on Monday (1 July) in a village in the Mopti region, residents and local officials have said. This is one of several areas in Mali’s north and center that has been plagued by al-Qaeda-linked and ethnically based armed groups. “It was carnage, they surrounded the village where there was a wedding … There was panic, some people managed to flee, but many were killed, most of them men,” one of the officials said without identifying the attackers.

Parts of the Sahel country have faced an increasing instability and violence since groups affiliated with al-Qaida and so-called “Islamic State” began launching attacks in 2012, seizing territory and making swaths of the country ungovernable. A military junta that seized power in a 2020 coup promised to tackle the rising insecurity, but attacks remain rife after it has broken off their alliances with France and European partners while turning politically and militarily towards Russia. In December last year, Mali’s military rulers also ordered the United Nations mission in the country to end its 10-year deployment and pull out.