Suspected jihadists kill more than 100 civilians in central Mali

More than 100 civilians have been killed over the past three days in neighbouring towns in central Mali in attacks blamed on jihadists, local officials and a senior government official said Monday.

The killings took place in Diallassagou and two nearby villages, Diaweli and Dessagou, in central Mali, a longtime hotbed of Sahelian violence.

An elected official speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons told AFP that the violence was continuing Monday.

However, Nouhoum Togo, another official, said that the army had reached the scene of the attack and was able to count the dead.

He said on social media that the number of victims was much higher than 100.

Mali and the central Sahel have for months faced a string of civilian massacres blamed on jihadists.

The country has since 2012 been rocked by an insurgency by groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State group, plunging the country into crisis.

Violence that began in the north has since spread to the centre and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. Inter-communal and criminal violence is also common.

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