Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on Monday vowed to beef up security as he visited a village where more than 160 Muslim farmers were killed by suspected militiamen from a rival ethnic group, reported the SBS News.
“We need security here – this is your mission,” Keita said, giving a public order to military chief General Aboulaye Coulibaly, who was abruptly appointed on Sunday after the massacre.
“Justice will be done,” he vowed.
The deadly raid took place on Saturday in the village of Ogassogou, home to the Fulani herding community, near the town of Mopti in central Mali.
A militia from the Dogon ethnic group – a hunting and farming community with a long history of tension with the Fulani over access to land – is suspected to have carried out the raid.
State television ORTM on Sunday gave a “provisional toll” of 136 dead.
Late Monday a local official and a Mali security force source said the toll had risen to 160 and could rise further.
“The new count is 160 dead and it will probably be higher still,” local councillor Amadou Diallo told AFP, denouncing an attack he said amounted to “ethnic cleansing.”
An AFP reporter on Monday said many homes in the village had been burned down and the ground was littered with corpses.
“I have never seen anything like that. They came, they shot people, burned homes, killed the babies,” 75-year-old survivor Ali Diallo said.