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Armed Dogon hunters group reject ceasefire in central Mali

Bamako, Mali | AFP | An armed group of ethnic Dogon hunters have rejected a recent ceasefire with Fulani herders in central Mali, arguing they need to protect fellow tribe members after several were killed by Mali army troops, a military-wing spokesperson said Wednesday.

The armed group, known as Dan Nan Ambassagou, only committed to the ceasefire on October 2 after the prime minister chaired inter-community talks.

“We broke the ceasefire several days ago,” said Moussa Togoun, an aid to the head of Dan Nan Ambassagou.

“Fulani terrorists are slaughtering our unarmed Dogon relatives. It’s over, we are resuming our protection of the population,” Moussa Togoun added in a telephone call with AFP.

On November 18, several members of the group died in clashes with army troops in Koromatintin, central Mali.

The breaking of the ceasefire dashes raised hopes of improved security in the restive region.

But a leader of Dan Nan Ambassagou’s political wing, David Tembine, disavowed the decision to break the ceasefire.

“If our fighters witness violence by Fulani terrorists or others on the ground, they must call it to the army’s attention,” Tembine told AFP.

Since the 2015 emergence of a jihadist movement headed by Fulani preacher Amadou Koufa in central Mali, disputes have regularly turned violent between nomadic Fulani herders and Bambara and Dogon farmers.

Violence has increased over the past three years, sparked by accusations of Fulani grazing cattle on Dogon land and disputes over access to land and water.

A municipal source in Mopti, central Mali, said that attacks attributed to Dogon hunters on Wednesday had targeted the predominantly Fulani town of Djabel.

The village chief was killed Tuesday by suspected jihadists.

Fulanis claim that Malian authorities and army troops turn a blind eye to Dogon attacks, in the name of the fight against jihadists.

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