Mali: Increasing attacks of the Dogon against Peulh nomads
115 killed in massacres in Mali - No protection for Peulhs – Central Mali sinks into violence (Press Release)
Following the violent deaths of 115 villagers in a raid in Mali, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses the government of the country of serious neglect. "The violence between the Dogon and the Peulh has been going on for months, but the Malian government has been ignoring the warning from various human rights organizations and the United Nations. Mali must not no longer stand by and watch! The attacks are a threat to the security situation in the entire country," explained Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Sunday. In 2018, a total number of 209 people got killed in 58 attacks by the Dogon against Peulh nomads, and around 14,000 people were forced to flee from the violence.
The worst incident so far occurred on Saturday morning, when the village of Ogossagou in the Bankass district (Mopti region) was encircled and attacked by Dogon hunters. A large part of the village population was murdered, and almost all the houses were burned down. "This massacre marks a sad low point in the search for more stability and peace in Mali, and the dramatically deteriorating security situation in central Mali must no longer be ignored. Mali's army and police must show greater presence to cut down on the attacks of the Dogon against the Peulhs," Delius emphasized.
On January 26, 2019, several thousand demonstrators gathered in the capital Bamako to demand an end to the violent assaults of the Dogon. They accused the authorities of tolerating and even welcoming their attacks against the Peulhs, because the Peulhs – who are also known as Fulani – are said to support Islamist extremists. "All citizens of Mali must enjoy equal protection by the police and the army. It is scandalous to stigmatize an entire population group as supporters of terrorists. Malian soldiers are known to detain Peulhs merely because of their ethnicity, and dozens of them were killed without a trial," said Delius.
The Dogon and the Peulhs have been fighting for control of pastures and farmland for centuries, and the consequences of climate change and dwindling resources are fueling these conflicts. Traditionally, disputes were settled by the leaders of both population groups, but structures like this have lost importance due to new administrative boundaries. Today, many conflicts are therefore carried out by force of arms. Islamist terrorists are trying to use the conflicts to recruit Peulhs as fighters. Mali's government must take the needs of the Peulhs seriously and consider their calls for more security, development, and participation – or Central Mali will not come to rest, the human rights organization stated.
Header Image: Erik Cleves Kristensen via Flickr