At Least 31 Civilians Killed After Mali Militants Attack Bus Going to Local Market

A UN peacekeeping mission convoy passes a boy in Mali’s Gao region. On Friday one such convoy was attacked by militants, killing one person. / Photograph: Reuters

Militants have killed at least 31 people in central Mali when they fired upon a bus ferrying people to a local market and attacked a UN convoy in the north of the country in a region racked by a violent insurgency.

The bus was attacked on Friday by unidentified gunmen as it travelled its twice-weekly route from the village of Songho to a market in Bandiagara six miles (10km) away, said Moulaye Guindo, the mayor of the nearby town of Bankass.

“Armed men … shot at the vehicle, slashed the tires, and shot at the people,” Guindo said.

He and another local official said at least 31 were confirmed dead, with many more wounded or missing.

The villages sit in the heart of the Mopti region, an epicentre of violence in Mali fuelled by insurgents linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State.

An internal security memo said first responders to the scene of the latest attack discovered 25 burned bodies in the truck.

Images circulated on social media showed the smouldering frame of a passenger bus filled with bodies, still slumped over in their seats. Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.

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SOURCE: The Guardian