President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali visited the site of an ethnic massacre in central Mali where gunmen killed dozens, vowing again to crack down on spiralling insecurity.
Attackers believed to be Fulani raided Dogon village Sobane Da on Sunday and Monday, killing 35 people, according to government, although a local authority maintains the real figure is 95. Neither has evidence for these tolls.
Keita cut short a trip to Switzerland to return to Mali and handle fallout from the attack, the latest in a series of retaliatory strikes by Dogon hunters on Fulani herders that have killed hundreds this year.
“The state will proceed immediately to disarm anyone who illegally owns a firearm and those who refuse to surrender arms will be sanctioned severely by the law,” he said in Sobane Da, before visiting the wounded at a local hospital.
Keita’s government made a similar pledge after an attack in March by suspected Dogon militiamen that killed more than 150 Fulani villagers. It struggled to disarm militias, who local communities look to for protection from Islamist militants and ethnic reprisals.
Violence between Dogon and Fulani and regular attacks by jihadist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State led many Malians to lose faith in government’s ability to protect them.