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Mali's attack shows security crisis in Sahel

In a shaky mobile phone video seen by CNN, a witness cautiously stepped over destroyed houses and around burning vehicles in Ogossagou in the center of Mali. Near the end of the clip, a small corpse lay lifeless in the dirt.

According to the United Nations, many victims were women and children.

The UN said that armed men, allegedly dressed as hunters, arrived before dawn and attacking the villagers with rifles and machetes.

The French Ambassador to the United Nations described it as an "unspeakable act".

The extent of the attack is scary, but the escalation of violence in central Mali No surprise.

Ethnic tensions and jihad rebellion

A jihadist uprising spread in the north and in the center of Mali in 201

2, and foreign troops and the government could not fully regain control of large areas of the West African inland ,

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and ISIS have penetrated deeper into the center of Mali, exploiting existing ethnic divisions and sowing chaos.

Owing to a lack of state security, so-called self-defense units of the Dogon or Bambara ethnic groups – such as the Dogon Dan Na Ambassagou, whose name means "hunters who trust in God", have risen.

  UN peacekeeping mission troops in Mali

The Saturday massacre is the latest and most serious in a series of attacks possibly related to self-defense groups.

In December, HRW released a report stating that more than 200 civilians were killed in Mali's Mopti region in 2018, warning that local violence was rapidly increasing there.

Much of the violence is between so-called self-defense units – communities that traditionally rely on agriculture – and the Fulani herd population. The Fulani are an important recruiting pool for the jihad groups, according to UN and HRW.

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Last year, HRW Dan Na Ambassagou accused of attacks on members of the Fulani group in attacks that "dozens of civilian deaths and injuries ".

Dan Na Ambassagou was disbanded on Sunday by Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar and the Council of Ministers, according to a government commandment that did not mention whether this group was blamed for the attack in Ogossagou.

The Council alleged that Dan Na Ambassagou had "deviated from its original objectives despite repeated warnings from local authorities".

Corinne Dufka, head of HRW's West Africa Associate, told CNN that the violence in Mali was underlined by "continuing tensions over land and land" between shepherds and cultivators, as well as the growing presence of armed Islamist groups … committed very serious atrocities and targeted members of the Dogon group. "

Dufka said Dan Na Ambassagou was" attacked by armed Islamists and then dealt with deadly reprisals, including those that took place yesterday. "

The attack on Saturday is the latest escalation of a cycle of violence outside of

Peacekeeping Measures

Last week, several Malian soldiers were killed in a coordinated attack at Dioura Village, earlier this month the UN said a body trapped with explosives was 10 Mourners killed at a Dogon funeral.

A United Nations Security Council delegation met with leaders when a massacre on Saturday attempted to implement a 2015 peace accord.

Under the name MINUSMA's UN peacekeeping mission in Mali is its most dangerous operation globally, 191 soldiers of the Mis have been killed since its inception in 2013. Their bases are regularly attacked, their soldiers often hit by IEDs.

But Mali is not insecurity. Large parts of the Sahel are destabilized by conflicts between communities and terrorist groups.

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The United States has in the region, especially in Niger, where the US operate a major drone base in Agadez, significant flooring.

The presence on the ground, notably the Special Operations Forces, became known with four US soldiers were killed in a deadly ambush in Niger in late 2017.

In about a dozen countries, around 1,200 soldiers are deployed under Special Operations Command Africa – mostly in an advisory capacity for African military forces fighting terrorist groups.

But the Pentagon announced late last year that it intended to reduce its troop presence on the continent.

This reduction and ongoing violence in the Sahel has caused many experts to speculate that the threat to the civilian population and the wider world will worsen no better.

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